This study developed a partial nitrification (PN) and anaerobic ammonia oxidation (Anammox) process for treating high-ammonia wastewater using an innovative biofilm system in which ammonia oxidizing bacteria grew on fluidized Kaldnes (K1) carriers and Anammox bacteria grew on fixed acryl resin carriers. The airlift loop biofilm reactor (ALBR) was stably operated for more than 4 months under the following conditions: 35 ± 2 °C, pH 7.5–8.0 and dissolved oxygen (DO) of 0.5–3.5 mg/L. The results showed that the total nitrogen removal efficiency reached a maximum of 75% and the total nitrogen removal loading rate was above 0.4 kg/(d·m3). DO was the most efficient control parameter in the mixed biofilm system, and values below 1.5 mg/L were observed in the riser zone for the PN reaction, while values below 0.8 mg/L were observed in the downer zone for the Anammox reaction. Scanning electron microscopy and Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization images showed that most of the nitrifying bacteria were distributed on the K1 carriers and most of the Anammox bacteria were distributed within the acryl resin carriers. Therefore, the results indicate that the proposed combined biofilm system is easy to operate and efficient for the treatment of high-ammonia wastewater.

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