Biological nitrogen removal process is to convert organic nitrogen and ammonia nitrogen into nitrogen via a series of reactions by microorganisms, and is widely used in wastewater treatment for its costless, high-effective, free secondly polluted characteristics. Quorum sensing (QS) is a communication mode for microorganisms to regulate bacteria's physiological behaviors in response to environmental changes. N-acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs)-mediated QS system is widespread in nitrogen removal-related functional bacteria and promotes biological nitrogen removal performance by regulating bacteria behavior. Recently, there has been an increasingly investigated AHLs-mediated QS system in wastewater biological nitrogen removal process. Consequently, the AHLs-mediated QS system is considered a promising regulatory strategy in the biological nitrogen removal process. This article reviewed the QS mechanism in various nitrogen removal-related functional bacteria and analyzed its effect on biological nitrogen removal performance. Combined with the application research of the QS system for enhanced biological nitrogen removal, further put forward some prospects and suggestions which are of practical significance in practical application.

  • The AHLs-mediated QS system exists widely in nitrogen removal-related functional bacteria.

  • The effects of AHLs-mediated QS system on biological nitrogen removal are comparatively analyzed.

  • The differences in the types, concentrations and structures of AHLs will significantly affect the biological nitrogen removal.

  • Possible applications of signaling mechanism based on AHLs in wastewater treatment needs to be further studied.

Graphical Abstract

Graphical Abstract
Graphical Abstract
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