A laboratory-scale thermophilic aerobic digester was operated with piggery wastewater. The operating temperature varied from 50-70°C. It has been found that excessive nitrogen removal occurred in the laboratory-scale thermophilic system at various HRTs. Nitrite and nitrate were not observed in the effluent. Gas measurement reveals the presence of significant amount of N2O along with NH3 gas. The rational production of N2O gas in accordance with temperature and HRT suggests that biologically mediated deammonification processes significantly contribute to the N removal. Although further microbiological investigation is required to clarify the exact nitrogen removal mechanism, the large production of N2O gas seems to be a result of the existence of a rapid growing heterotrophic deammonification process in the thermophilic system.

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