Biological Reduction

Sulfate-reducing bacteria form hydrogen sulfide under reducing conditions, i.e., in the absence of molecular oxygen and other proton acceptors like nitrate ions. Organic matter is oxidized to acetic acid by the most common sul-fate-reducing bacteria; however, complete oxidation to carbon dioxide and water also can occur. If sulfate levels are high, the objectionable odors resulting from the release of hydrogen sulfide gas can be minimized by (1) precipitation of metallic sulfide salts; (2) oxidation of the sulfides to sulfates either by anaerobic photosynthetic bacteria or by microaerophilic sulfur-oxidizing bacteria; and (3) maintaining an alkaline pH level.

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