A continuous upflow biofilm reactor packed with ceramsite was constructed for nitrate removal under an anaerobic atmosphere without an organic carbon source. Denitrifying bacteria, Pseudomonas sp. W1, Pseudomonas sp. W2 and Microbacterium sp. W5, were added to the bioreactor as inocula. Nitrate concentration, nitrite accumulation and nitrogen removal efficiency in the effluent were investigated under various conditions set by several parameters including pH, hydraulic retention time (HRT), ratios of carbon to nitrogen (C/N) and temperature. The results illustrated that the maximum removal efficiency of nitrogen was 85.39%, under optimum reaction parameters, approximately pH 6.5–7, HRT = 48 hours and C/N = 13.1:1 at temperature of 30 °C, which were determined by experiment.

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