An innovative integrated multistage bioreactor (IMBR) system, which was augmented with three predominant bacterial strains (Lactobacillus paracasei CL1107, Pichia jadinii CL1705, and Serratia marcescens CL1502) isolated from marine sediments, was developed to treat real tannery wastewater without performing physicochemical pretreatment, with the potential to reduce the generation of waste sludge and odors. The performance of the IMBR treatment system, with and without the inclusion of the predominant bacterial strains, was compared. The results indicated that the performance of the IMBR system without bioaugmentation by the predominant bacterial strains was poor. However, when in the presence of the predominant bacterial strains, the IMBR system exhibited high removal efficiencies of chemical oxygen demand (COD) (97%), NH4+-N (97.7%), and total nitrogen (TN) (90%). In addition, the system had the capacity for the simultaneous removal of organics and nitrogen, heterotrophic nitrification and denitrification being carried out concurrently, thereby avoiding the strong inhibition of high concentrations of COD on nitrification. The system possessed excellent adaptability and ability to resist influent loading fluctuations, and had a good alkalinity balance such that it could achieve a high NH4+-N, and TN removal efficiency without a supplement of external alkalinity. In addition, an empirical performance modeling of the IMBR system was analyzed.

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