Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp 415–429 | Cite as

Biological nitrate removal in industrial wastewater treatment: which electron donor we can choose

  • Jae Yeon Park
  • Young Je Yoo


Biological denitrification was reviewed regarding its potential application to treating nitrate in industrial wastewater. Although heterotrophic denitrification is an efficient and well-developed process, some carbon content in wastewater is essential to maintain bacterial activity. Because of the high operating cost of heterotrophic denitrification caused by the required addition of a carbon source and potential “carbon breakthrough”, the study of autotrophic denitrification has attracted the interest of numerous researchers. Many advances in autotrophic processes have been made in the application of novel concepts and reaction schemes. While the main advantage of autotrophic bacteria rests on the reduction of operating costs by the replacement of an external carbon source with a cheaper electron donor, further decrease in cost requires additional refinement of these processes, including further improvement of reactor structure and optimization of reaction conditions. In the long term, new concepts are required for a compact wastewater treatment process. This review addresses the state of the art of each electron donor candidate for its potential application to the treatment of industrial wastewater containing nitrate.


Nitrate Biological treatment Wastewater Electron donor 


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© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chemical and Biological EngineeringSeoul National UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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