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Biological Denitrification Using Corncobs as a Carbon Source and Biofilm Carrier

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In this research, agricultural waste—in particular, corncobs—was investigated for use as the sole carbon source and biofilm carrier to remove nitrate from wastewater in up-flow laboratory reactors. An artificial wastewater with a temperature range of 27 to 33°C was used. Fast startup of the reactor and a high nitrate removal efficiency were observed. The highest denitrification rate of 0.203kg/(m 3 · d) was achieved when flow rate and nitrate concentration were 153 L/d and 25.3 mgN/L, respectively. The accumulation of nitrite was not observed in this process. Moreover, flow rate and nitrate concentration of the influent were observed to have a significant effect on nitrate removal efficiency. A sharp decline of nitrate removal efficiency was observed when the flow rate was greater than 50 L/d. The reactor had the ability to accommodate a wide range of pH levels (6.5 to 8.5) and dissolved oxygen (1.5 mg/L to 4 mg/L). A time-dependent decrease in nitrate removal efficiency was observed after 67 days of operation. The addition of fresh corncobs brought about a rapid increase of nitrate removal efficiency. Results showed that corncobs could be used as an economical and effective carbon source for denitrification.

Keywords: biofilm carrier; biological denitrification; carbon source; corncobs

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-03-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research� (WER�) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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