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Enhanced nitrification in integrated floating fixed-film activated sludge (IFFAS) system using novel clinoptilolite composite carrier

Jing, Aoshuang, Liu, Tao, Quan, Xie, Chen, Shuo, Zhang, Yaobin
Frontiers of environmental science & engineering 2019 v.13 no.5 pp. 69
Nitrosomonadales, Nitrospirales, activated sludge, ammonium nitrogen, bacteria, biofilm, contact angle, dissolved oxygen, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, hydrophilicity, hydrophobicity, nitrification, oxygen, pH, polyethylene, wastewater
The integrated floating fixed-film activated sludge (IFFAS) process is an ideal preference for nitrification attributing to the longer sludge age for nitrifiers. However, as the core of this process, conventional carriers made of polymer materials usually exhibit negative charge and hydrophobicity on the surface, which is unbeneficial to nitrifying biofilm formation. In this study, novel clinoptilolite composite carriers with favorable hydrophilicity, positive charge and nitrification-enhancing capability were made and implemented in IFFAS system. In comparison with conventional carriers, the novel clinoptilolite composite carriers displayed positive charges on the surface (11.7±1.1 mV, pH 7.0) with increased hydrophilicity (surface contact angle dropped to 76.7°). The novel-carriers-based reactors achieved significantly better NH₄⁺-N removal efficiency at different influent concentrations, dissolved oxygen (DO) levels and shock loads (NH₄⁺-N removal efficiency rose up to 20% comparing with the control reactors filled with polyethylene (PE) carriers or activated sludge). High-throughput sequencing (HTS) results indicated the novel clinoptilolite composite carriers provided favorable niche for more types of bacteria, especially for Nitrosomonadales and Nitrospirales (the functional nitrifiers in the system). The population of Nitrospirales increased by 4.51% by using novel clinoptilolite composite carriers comparing with using PE carriers, which ensured enhanced nitrification process. This study was expected to provide a practical option for enhancing wastewater nitrification performance with the novel clinoptilolite composite carrier.