Activated packed bed bioreactor for rapid nitrification in brackish water hatchery systems

  • V. J. Rejish Kumar
  • Cini Achuthan
  • N. J. Manju
  • Rosamma Philip
  • I. S. Bright Singh
Original Paper


A packed bed bioreactor (PBBR) was developed for rapid establishment of nitrification in brackish water hatchery systems in the tropics. The reactors were activated by immobilizing ammonia-oxidizing (AMONPCU-1) and nitrite-oxidizing (NIONPCU-1) bacterial consortia on polystyrene and low-density polyethylene beads, respectively. Fluorescence in situ hybridization demonstrated the presence of autotrophic nitrifiers belong to Nitrosococcus mobilis, lineage of β ammonia oxidizers and nitrite oxidizer Nitrobacter sp. in the consortia. The activated reactors upon integration to the hatchery system resulted in significant ammonia removal (P < 0.01) culminating to its undetectable levels. Consequently, a significantly higher percent survival of larvae was observed in the larval production systems. With spent water the reactors could establish nitrification with high percentage removal of ammonia (78%), nitrite (79%) and BOD (56%) within 7 days of initiation of the process. PBBR is configured in such a way to minimize the energy requirements for continuous operation by limiting the energy inputs to a single stage pumping of water and aeration to the aeration cells. The PBBR shall enable hatchery systems to operate under closed recirculating mode and pave the way for better water management in the aquaculture industry.


Nitrifying bioreactors Nitrifying consortia Immobilization Nitrification Closed system shrimp hatchery 



This work was carried out with the financial assistance from Department of Biotechnology (BT/AA/03/10/79/94 and BT/DRI 794/AAQ/03/092/99) and Department of Science and Technology (SR/SO/AS-15/2003) Government of India. Matsyafed Shrimp Hatchery, Quilon, Kerala is thankfully acknowledged for extending the larval rearing facility for the demonstration and validation. Acknowledge Dr. Valsamma Joseph, Lecturer, National Centre for Aquatic Animal Health, Cochin University of Science and Technology for the analysis of the data.


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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. J. Rejish Kumar
    • 1
  • Cini Achuthan
    • 1
  • N. J. Manju
    • 1
  • Rosamma Philip
    • 2
  • I. S. Bright Singh
    • 1
  1. 1.National Centre for Aquatic Animal HealthCochin University of Science and TechnologyCochinIndia
  2. 2.Department of Marine Biology, Microbiology and Biochemistry, School of Ocean Science and TechnologyCochin University of Science and TechnologyCochinIndia

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