Biological nitrogen removal via nitrite pathway in wastewater treatment is very important especially in the cost of aeration and as an electron donor for denitrification. Wastewater nitrification and nitrite accumulations were carried out in a biofilm reactor. The biofilm reactor showed almost complete nitrification and most of the oxidized ammonium was present as nitrite at the ammonium load of 1.2 kg N/m3/d. Nitrite accumulation was achieved by the selective inhibition of nitrite oxidizers by free ammonia and oxygen limitation. Nitrite oxidation activity was recovered as soon as the inhibition factor was removed. Fluorescence in situ hybridization studies of the nitrite accumulating biofilm system have shown that genus Nitrosomonas which is specifically hybridized with probe NSM156 was the dominant nitrifying bacteria while Nitrospira was less abundant than those of normal nitrification systems. Further FISH analysis showed that the combinations of Nitrosomonas and Nitrospira cells were identified as important populations of nitrifying bacteria in an autotrophic nitrifying biofilm system.

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