Autotrophic Nitrogen Removal in a Membrane-Aerated Biofilm Reactor Under Continuous Aeration: A Demonstration

Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2013

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This work describes the successful coupling of partial nitrification (nitritation) and anaerobic ammonium oxidation in a membrane-aerated biofilm reactor (MABR) with continuous aeration. Controlling the relative surface loadings of oxygen versus ammonium prevented complete nitrite oxidation and allowed anaerobic ammonium-oxidizing bacteria (AnaerAOB) to develop and be retained for > 250 days. Daily autotrophic nitrogen removal of 1.7 g N/m(2) (75% of influent N load) was achieved at an oxygen/nitrogen surface loading ratio of 2.2, with up to 85% of the influent N proceeding through AnaerAOB. During early nitritation, nitrogen oxide (NO(g), NO2(g), and N2O(g)) emissions comprised up to 10% of the removed influent nitrogen, but emissions disappeared after proliferation of AnaerAOB. Microbial communities were radially stratified, with aerobic ammonium-oxidizing bacteria (AerAOB) colonizing nearest to and AnaerAOB furthest from the membrane. Despite the presence of nitrite-oxidizing bacteria, this work demonstrated that these autotrophic processes can be successfully coupled in an MABR with continuous aeration, achieving the benefits of competitive specific N removal rates and the elimination of gaseous nitrogen oxide emissions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Engineering Science
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)38-45
StatePublished - 2013
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 19

    Research areas

  • autotrophic process, continuous aeration, microbial community, Microorganisms (Bacteria, Eubacteria, Microorganisms) - Bacteria [05000] bacteria common bioindicator, ammonium 14798-03-9 oxidation, nitric oxide 10102-43-9, nitrite 14797-65-0 oxidation, nitrogen 7727-37-9 pollutant, water pollutant removal, nitrogen dioxide 10102-44-0, nitrogen oxide 11104-93-1, nitrous oxide 10024-97-2, oxygen 7782-44-7, 10060, Biochemistry studies - General, 31000, Physiology and biochemistry of bacteria, 37015, Public health - Air, water and soil pollution, 39008, Food microbiology - General and miscellaneous, membrane-aerated biofilm reactor MABR laboratory equipment, Bioprocess Engineering, Equipment Apparatus Devices and Instrumentation, Pollution Assessment Control and Management
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