The performance of nitrifying granules, which had been produced in an aerobic upflow fluidised bed (AUFB) reactor, was investigated in various types of ammonia-containing wastewaters. When pure oxygen was supplied to the AUFB reactor with a synthetic wastewater containing a high concentration of ammonia (500 g-N/m3), the ammonia removal rate reached 16.7 kg-N/m3/day with a sustained ammonia removal efficiency of more than 80%. The nitrifying granules possessing a high settling ability could be retained with a high density (approximately 10,000 g-MLSS/m3) in a continuous stirring tank reactor (CSTR) even under a short hydraulic retention time (44 min), which enabled a high-rate and stable nitrification for an inorganic wastewater containing low concentrations of ammonia (50 g-N/m3). Moreover, the nitrifying granules exhibited sufficient performance in the nitrification of real industrial wastewater containing high concentrations of ammonia (1,000–1,400 g-N/m3) and salinity (1.2–2.2%), which was discharged from metal-refinery processes. When the nitrifying granules were used in cooperation with activated sludge to treat domestic wastewater containing organic pollutants as well as ammonia, they fully contributed to nitrification even though a part of activated sludge adhered onto the granule surfaces to form biofilms. These results show the wide applicability of nitrifying granules to various cases in the nitrification step of wastewater treatment plants.

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