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Enhanced simultaneous nitrification and denitrification in treating low carbon-to-nitrogen ratio wastewater: Treatment performance and nitrogen removal pathway

Chai, Hongxiang, Xiang, Yu, Chen, Rong, Shao, Zhiyu, Gu, Li, Li, Li, He, Qiang
Bioresource technology 2019 v.280 pp. 51-58
ammonia, ammonium, biofilm, carbon nitrogen ratio, chlorates, denitrification, denitrifying microorganisms, energy conservation, nitrate reductase, nitrates, nitrification, nitrites, nitrogen, nitrous oxide, nitrous oxide production, wastewater, wastewater treatment
Simultaneous nitrification and denitrification (SND) is an energy-saving wastewater treatment process, however, the nitrogen removal pathways are not clear. An enhanced SND sequencing batch biofilm reactor with a SND ratio above 97.3% was built to treat low carbon to nitrogen ratio wastewater. When traditional nitrification was inhibited, ammonia removal efficiency still reached 45% in 8 h while the NO₃⁻ and NO₂⁻ concentration was less than 3 mg/L and 0.01 mg/L during the complete process, respectively. The pathways that could not be suppressed by the inhibitors (ATU and ClO₃⁻) were stimulated by heterotrophic nitrifiers and aerobic denitrifiers with periplasmic nitrate reductase and contributed 55% of the total removed NH₄⁺ and produced 51% of the emitted N₂O. The contributions of different nitrogen removal pathways indicate that the unconventional pathways are important in wastewater treatment system and inhibitors should be carefully used in nitrogen removal pathway assays.