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Anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) is an autotrophic biological process, especially useful for the treatment of high nitrogen loaded wastewaters with low C:N ratios (i.e. sludge digester effluent, landfill leachate or piggery waste). Special attention, however, has to be given to the nitrite and dissolved oxygen concentrations that could inhibit the process. Consequently, the start-up of the anammox bacteria is the bottle-neck of the process. In this paper, the anammox activity for the start-up and the enrichment of anammox microorganisms, without any previous anammox inoculum, was assessed using chemical analysis, stoichiometric and microbiological verification. The results showed a successful growth and enrichment of Candidatus “Brocadia anammoxidans” bacteria. Thus, the system treated 0.45 Kg N·m−3·d−1 of a synthetic medium and reached ammonium and nitrite removal efficiencies of 98.0% and 99.6% after 230 days of SBR operation, respectively. Furthermore, the anammox process was assessed by evaluating the experimental stoichiometric relationships between nitrite removal:ammonium removal (1.34) and nitrate production:ammonium removal (0.29) ratios during an SBR cycle. The experimental values found corresponded to the theoretical values, indicating correct performance of the anammox process.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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