Controlling nitritation in a continuous split-feed/aeration biofilm nitrifying bioreactor

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Bioresource Technology, 2019, 288
Issue Date:
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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd This study explored the stability of partial ammonium oxidation at low feed concentration (50 g N/m3), suitable for anammox process, in continuous fixed bed up-flow biofilm reactors with external recirculation-aeration. The reactors, filled with crushed basalt, were fed with synthetic medium at 20–25 °C at constant flow-rate with limiting dissolved oxygen concentration controlled by the recirculation ratio (R). Successful nitritation was achieved at R ≅ 4–6 with approx. 50% of NH4+ oxidized to NO2- with <5% NO3-accumulation. q-PCR analysis along the reactor showed ammonia oxidizing bacteria being the prevalent nitrifiers over the three-fourths of the bed in the flow direction, negligible denitrifiers and absent ammonium oxidizing archaea. A numerical model for predicting the concentration of the nitrogen species and DO was formulated. The model successfully predicted the experimental results and displayed good sensitivity to intrinsic oxygen uptake parameters. The proposed numerical model can serve both as an operational and design tool.
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