In laboratory-scale batch experiments, duckweed (Limna gibba)-based and algae-based wastewater containers have been monitored over 15 days in two experiments with different initial total nitrogen concentrations of 50 (experiment 1) and 100 mg-N/L (experiment 2). Clear differences in environmental conditions were observed. High dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations were observed in the algae-based ,compared to duckweed-based, containers. In the algae-based containers the DO range was between 2.1 to 6.6 mg/L and 1.2 to 4.3 mg/L in experiment 1 and 2, respectively, whereas in the duckweed-based containers DO ranged between 1.1 to 3 mg/l and 0.5 to 2.1 mg/L. Higher pH values were measured in algae-based due to algal photosynthetic activity compared to duckweed-based containers where the duckweed mat prevented sunlight penetration and hence algal development. In algae-based containers, the pH range was 7.9 to 8.6 and 8.1 to 8.4 in experiments 1 and 2, respectively, and 7.3 to 7.5 and 7 to 7.6 in the duckweed-based containers. Depending on initial nitrogen concentrations, duckweed-based containers removed between 42%–62% of total nitrogen and between 56%–95% of Kjeldahl nitrogen from the wastewater, while algae-based containers removed between 45%–48% and 48%–58% of total nitrogen and Kjeldahl nitrogen, respectively. Nitrogen loss, probably due to denitrification and ammonia volatilisation, represents 40% of the total nitrogen content of algae-based and duckweed-based containers. However, in duckweed-based containers only 28% of N-loss was observed in containers with higher initial N-content. This study demonstrates that there were differences in environmental conditions in algae-based and duckweed-based containers, which have caused differences in nitrogen transformation mechanisms.

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