Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp 15–26 | Cite as

Biological nitrogen removal with nitrification and denitrification via nitrite pathway

  • Yongzhen Peng
  • Guibing Zhu


Presently, the wastewater treatment practices can be significantly improved through the introduction of new microbial treatment technologies. To meet increasingly stringent discharge standards, new applications and control strategies for the sustainable removal of ammonium from wastewater have to be implemented. Partial nitrification to nitrite was reported to be technically feasible and economically favorable, especially when wastewater with high ammonium concentrations or low C/N ratios is treated. For successful implementation of the technology, the critical point is how to maintain partial nitrification of ammonium to nitrite. Partial nitrification can be obtained by selectively inhibiting nitrite oxidizing bacteria through appropriate regulation of the system’s DO concentration, microbial SRT, pH, temperature, substrate concentration and load, operational and aeration pattern, and inhibitor. The review addressed the microbiology, its consequences for their application, the current status regarding application, and the future developments.


Biological nitrogen removal Denitrification Partial nitrification SHARON process Shortcut nitrification–denitrification Wastewater treatment 



This research is financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation Key International Cooperation project of China (No. 50521140075), National Hi-Tech Development Program “863” project (No. 2004AA601020), and the National Natural Science Foundation (20377003). Give special thanks to Mr. Guo Jianhua for his help in English checking.


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© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Municipal and Environmental EngineeringHarbin Institute of TechnologyHarbinChina
  2. 2.Research Center for Eco-Environmental ScienceChina Academy of ScienceBeijingChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Beijing Water Quality Science and Water Environment Recovery EngineeringBeijing University of TechnologyBeijingChina

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