Slaughterhouse wastewater is a complex effluent with an important content of organic nitrogen. After an anaerobic treatment where most of the organic matter is removed, the nitrogen, remains as ammonium and post-treatment of the effluent is necessary. Sequencing batch reactor (SBR) technology has been developed to completely remove nitrogen in one single reactor combining aerobic and anoxic stages. Under oxygen limited conditions only nitrite is produced with concomitant energy saving. The stability and diversity of the microbial community from a nitrifying denitrifying SBR operated under oxygen limited conditions were studied using molecular and respirometric methods. The AOB (ammonia oxidizing bacteria) community was relatively stable Nitrosomonas being the dominant genera although Nitrosospira and Nitrosococcus were detected in low proportions. Nitrite oxidizing bacteria were out competed during the operation under oxygen-limited conditions. After an increase of the DO in the reactor Nitrobacter spp were detected suggesting that they remained in the system. Changes in the AOB and denitrifying communities were observed after the DO increase. Sedimentation problems were detected during operation, this could be related to the predominance of Thauera spp detected by FISH and T-RFLP.

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