This study investigated removal of sulfide and p-cresol linked to denitrification in laboratory-scale upflow anaerobic granular sludge bed (UASB) bioreactors. Three parallel denitrification bioreactors were run for nine months, which were operated under chemolithoautotrophic conditions (i.e., using sulfide as electron donor –e-donor- and bicarbonate as C source); heterotrophic conditions (with p-cresol as e-donor and C source), and mixotrophic conditions (utilizing both sulfide and p-cresol as electron donors), respectively. The average hydraulic retention time and nitrate load applied to the bioreactors was 13.4 h and 1,240 mg N-NO3/l/day, respectively. The nitrate removal efficiency was 89, 95 and 99%, respectively, for the chemo-, hetero- and mixotrophic reactors. The mixotrophic UASB removed both sulfide and p-cresol almost completely, indicating that simultaneous removal of the inorganic and organic e-donors occurred. Nitrite was seldom observed as an intermediate. N2O gas and methane concentrations in the biogas were also negligible. These results indicate that mixotrophic denitrification with phenols and sulfide is feasible in high rate UASB reactors.

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