Evaluation of anammox pathway recovery after high COD loading using water quality, molecular biology and isotope labelling analysis

  • Ruili Yang
  • Xiaojun WangEmail author
  • Yan Guo
  • Zhaoji Zhang
  • Shaohua ChenEmail author
Research Paper


Anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) pathway is sensitive to organic matter, and its recovery requires reliable evidence regarding the dominance of anammox in N-removal. This study showed that the anammox process deteriorated, with N-removal efficiencies rapidly decreasing from 87.2 to 45.7% when reactors were exposed to COD shocks of 1.12, 2.24 and 3.36 g L−1 (COD/N ratio 2, 4 and 6). Comprehensive assessments of water quality, microbial characteristics and isotope analysis were adopted to investigate anammox recovery. Operational performance took 8–20 days to recover; anammox relative abundance recovered after 20 days, based on the results of fluorescence in situ hybridisation and quantitative PCR; and the anammox pathway contributed to 80.0–91.5% of N-loss 40 days after COD shock terminated, based on the results of the isotope labelling experiment. Therefore, a complete recovery required 40 days. The isotope labelling method supplied a reliable reference for recovery assessment of anammox system in real-world applications.


Organic carbon shock Recovery of anammox system Denitrification 15N isotope-labelling method 



This research was financially supported by the Chinese-Japanese Research Cooperative Program (Grant No. 2016YFE0118000), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51208491) and the Frontier Research Projects of IUE-CAS (Grant No. IUEMS201404).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interest.

Supplementary material

449_2019_2260_MOESM1_ESM.doc (468 kb)
Supplementary file1 (DOC 467 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Urban Pollutant Conversion, Institute of Urban EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXiamenPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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