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Simultaneous nitrification, denitrification and phosphorus removal in a sequencing batch reactor (SBR) under low temperature

Li, Can, Liu, Shufeng, Ma, Tao, Zheng, Maosheng, Ni, Jinren
Chemosphere 2019 v.229 pp. 132-141
Propionivibrio, bacterial communities, bioactive properties, chemical oxygen demand, denitrification, fluorescence in situ hybridization, greenhouse gas emissions, nitrification, nitrites, nitrogen, phosphorus, ribosomal RNA, temperature, total nitrogen, wastewater treatment, winter
Simultaneous nitrogen and phosphorus removal in winter is one of the great challenges in wastewater treatment processes due to the poor bioactivity of microbial communities. In this study, excellent performance of simultaneous nitrification, denitrification and phosphorus removal (SNDPR) was achieved at low temperature of 10 °C and COD/N ratio of 6 in a lab-scale sequencing batch reactor. Total nitrogen (TN) and phosphorus (TP) removal efficiency reached 89.6% and 97.5%, respectively, accompanied with N2O emission of 7.46% TN due to the primary contribution (70%) of nitrifier denitrification. It was further confirmed that polyphosphate accumulating organisms (PAOs) were dominant in microbial communities revealed by fluorescence in situ hybridization and 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing. Moreover, denitrifying phosphorus removal by PAOs through nitrite pathway was found to be the main reason for the high efficiency of this SNDPR process. Denitrifying PAOs, especially the subgroup PAOII capable of utilizing nitrite to take up phosphorus, played a significant role in highly efficient TN and TP removal at low temperature. Furthermore, genus Propionivibrio was enriched (48.9%) in the bacterial community based on the 16S rRNA analysis, which was proposed to be a crucial member involved in the nitrogen and phosphorus removal simultaneously at low temperature in this system.