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Ammonia Oxidizing Archaea, AOA, Population and Kinetic Changes in a Full Scale Simultaneous Nitrogen and Phosphorous Removal MBR

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We report unusually high nitrification activities at very low dissolved oxygen concentrations in a full-scale membrane bioreactor that operates with simultaneous nitrification denitrification and phosphorus removal, SNDP. We obtained a high affinity for oxygen in a nitrifying mixed culture population. The calculated value for the half oxygen saturation coefficient was 0.01 mg/l, an order of magnitude lower than previously reported. This is the second independent report of these observations in full scale plants. We observed a seasonal reduction in the low dissolved oxygen nitrification activity that impacts the observed half saturation constant for oxygen for nitrification. We quantified the microbial population of nitrifiers in the system using molecular techmiques (qPCR) and observed that ammonia oxidizing archaea, AOA, were the dominant population. Anammox spcs were present but in insignificant numbers. Ammonia oxidizing bacteria, AOB, increase in numbers during the winter time consitently with the decrease in low DO nitrification activity. We observed that partial denitrification was the dominant path for simultaneous nitrification denitrification in the system. The most likely source of electrons for nitrification is endogenous substrate.This allows significant savings in the amount of oxygen and carbon that is required for biological nutrient removal enabling energy efficient strategies for wastewater treatment. We calculated that energy self-sufficiency is a viable option combining SNDP with a pretreatment process that routes BOD away from the BNR process to produce methane.
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Keywords: AOA; Anammox; Kinetics; P-removal; Partial Nitrification; energy self sufficiency; half saturation coefficient; low oxygen

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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