An improved methodology based on a nitrate biosensor is developed and applied successfully for in-depth monitoring and study of anoxic activated sludge activities. The major advantages of the methodology are its simplicity, reliability and high data quality. The resulting data allowed for the first time to monitor anoxic respiration rate of activated sludge (nitrate uptake rate (NUR)) at a high time resolution making it clearly comparable with high frequency oxygen uptake rate (OUR) measurements obtained under aerobic conditions. Further, the anoxic respiration data resulting from a pulse addition of carbon source to endogenously respiring anoxic activated sludge shows a clear start-up phenomenon and storage tail that is usually also observed in high-frequency OUR measurements. Finally, the improved methodology can be expected to serve as an anoxic respirometer for activated sludge treatment plants where denitrification process occurs in single-step. Further, it can be used for a variety of purposes e.g. for toxicity and activity monitoring, process control and parameter estimation of the activated sludge process, similar to the aerobic respirometers.

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