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Sustainable nitrification in fluidised bed reactor with immobilised sludge pellets

Y Wang
W Zhou
Z Li
W Wu
Z Zhang


Sustainable immobilised microbial pellets were developed with water-borne polyurethane (WPU) material together with powdered activated carbon (PAC) and activated sludge as microbial inoculums for nitrification or partial nitrification. The nitrification performance and the influencing factors were studied with lab-scale aerobic fluidised bed reactors (FBR) under various temperature conditions. During the start-up period, quickly increasing the influent ammonium concentration from 40 to 320 mg N·ℓ-1 led to a stable nitrification performance with high nitrite accumulation (>80%). Characterisation of the FBR performance indicated that the desired partial nitrification could be achieved at pH 7.8–8.5, dissolved oxygen (DO) 3-5 mg·ℓ-1 and temperature between 24 and 29°C. Addition of organic carbon (glucose) improved the ammonium removal but decreased the nitrite accumulation ratio significantly. TOC concentration above 800 mg·ℓ-1 was not able to cause the inhibition of the heterotrophs over the nitrifiers. PCR-DGGE results indicated the presence of Nitrosomonas (ammonia-oxidising bacteria) and Nitrobacter (nitrite-oxidising bacteria) in the immobilised pellets.

Keywords: bioimmobilisation, ammonium, partial nitrification, wastewater treatment