The competition between Nitrospira and Nitrobacter species was analyzed in this work under conditions of excess of nitrite. A population of nitrite oxidizing bacteria (NOB) was developed from nitrifying biomass grown as granules with a mean diameter of 0.8 mm, whose feed was switched from ammonium to nitrite. The initial population distribution of the granules was: 60% Nitrosomonas and 30% Nitrospira and it evolved to 45% Nitrobacter and 40% Nitrospira measured 177 days after the change in the feeding. The disappearance of Nitrosomonas allowed the development of an important population of Nitrobacter demonstrating that these organisms, characterized by being r strategists NOB, are poor competitors when oxygen is the limiting substrate. Interestingly, the physical structure of the granules was not altered by the change of its microbial composition during the 220 days of operation.

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