The present study reports the inhibition kinetics and granular sludge in an anaerobic ammonium oxidation (ANAMMOX) – up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor fed with diluted mature landfill leachate. The activity of ANAMMOX bacteria was inhibited by addition of mature landfill leachate, but gradually adapted to the leachate. The system achieved efficient nitrogen removal during 65–75 d and the average removal efficiencies for NH4+-N, NO2-N and total nitrogen (TN) were 96%, 95% and 87%, respectively. ANAMMOX was the main pathway of nitrogen removal in the system, and heterotrophic denitrification occurred simultaneously. In addition, aerobic ammonia oxidation and aerobic nitrite oxidation were active in this system. Inhibition kinetic experiments showed that the NH4+-N and NO2-N inhibition concentration threshold of ANAMMOX were 489.03 mg/L and 192.36 mg/L, respectively. ANAMMOX was significantly inhibited by mature landfill leachate, and was completely inhibited when the leachate concentration was 1,450.69 mg/L (calculated in chemical oxygen demand). Thus, the inhibition concentration of substrate and landfill leachate should be considered when applying the ANAMMOX process to landfill leachate. The color of granular sludge ANAMMOX changed from brick-red into a reddish-brown. The particle size increased from small to large, with evident granulation of the ANAMMOX sludge.

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