TURBO N® is a circulating-bed biofilm reactor that provides stable operation and high N removal for a wide range of N and BOD loadings. This paper describes the influence of operating conditions on biofilm composition and population dynamics when the TURBO N® is operated to achieve tertiary nitrification, simultaneous carbon and ammonia oxidation and total nitrogen removal when coupled with a pre-denitrification fixed floating bed reactor. In situ specific nitrification rates and respiration tests showed that ammonium and nitrite oxidizers became less active in the biofilm once oxidation of influent BOD became important. Analyses of community structure with oligonucleotide probes targeted to the 16S rRNA showed the same general trends for nitrifiers, but also suggested shifts in the makeup of the ammonium and nitrite oxidizers that could not be detected with respirometry or specific nitrification rates.

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