Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 18, pp 8079–8091 | Cite as

Two-stage partial nitritation-anammox process for high-rate mainstream deammonification

  • Wenru LiuEmail author
  • Dianhai Yang
  • Yaoliang Shen
  • Jianfang Wang
Environmental biotechnology


Increasing information supported that achieving high-rate mainstream deammonification through two-stage partial nitritation (PN)-anammox process should be a better option than through single-stage process. However, direct experimental evidence was limited so far. Herein, a two-stage PN-anammox process was successfully operated for nitrogen removal from low-strength wastewater in winter. Influent shift from synthetic wastewater to actual anaerobically pretreated sewage had little impact on the process performance. Promising nitrogen removal rates (NRRs) of 0.28–0.07 kg N m−3 d−1 with an average effluent concentration of 5.2 mg TN L−1 were achieved for the anaerobically pretreated sewage treatment at 15–7 °C. Moreover, nearly all the degradable COD in the pretreated sewage was steadily removed in the first-stage PN reactor, despite the varied influent COD concentrations of 22–78 mg L−1 and the operating temperature decrease, suggesting the positive role of the first-stage PN in protecting anammox bacteria. The low temperature seemingly was the only deterministic factor inhibiting the anammox activity, and hence made the anammox reaction to be the rate-limiting step for nitrogen removal in the two-stage PN-anammox process. Unexpectedly, nearly all the anammox bacteria remained active at low temperatures with the process actual anammox activity reached about 76–85% of their maximum potential, implying that higher NRRs would be easily realized through bioaugmentation or enrichment of anammox bacteria. Overall, the present investigation provides direct and valuable information for implementing the two-stage PN-anammox process to treat mainstream municipal wastewater. A control strategy was also proposed to optimize the operation of the two-stage mainstream deammonification process.


Two-stage Partial nitritation Anammox Low temperature Sewage 



This research was supported by Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (Grant No. 2013ZX07315–001) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51578353 and No. 51508366). Authors also acknowledge support from the Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center of Technology and Material of Water Treatment.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2018_9207_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (194 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 193 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wenru Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dianhai Yang
    • 2
  • Yaoliang Shen
    • 1
  • Jianfang Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringSuzhou University of Science and TechnologySuzhouChina
  2. 2.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringTongji UniversityShanghaiChina

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