, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 339–347 | Cite as

The effect and biological mechanism of granular sludge size on performance of autotrophic nitrogen removal system

  • Xing Ya-juan
  • Ji Jun-yuanEmail author
  • Zheng PingEmail author
  • Wang Lan
  • Ghulam Abbas
  • Jiqiang Zhang
  • Wang Ru
  • He Zhan-fei
Original Paper


The autotrophic process for nitrogen removal has attracted worldwide attention in the field of wastewater treatment, and the performance of this process is greatly influenced by the size of granular sludge particles present in the system. In this work, the granular sludge was divided into three groups, i.e. large size (> 1.2 mm), medium size (0.6–1.2 mm) and small size (< 0.6 mm). The medium granular sludge was observed to dominate at high volumetric nitrogen loading rates, while offering strong support for good performance. Its indispensable contribution was found to originate from improved settling velocity (0.84 ± 0.10 cm/s), high SOUR-A (specific oxygen uptake rate for ammonia oxidizing bacteria, 25.93 mg O2/g MLVSS/h), low SOUR-N (specific oxygen uptake rate for nitrite oxidizing bacteria, 3.39 mg O2/g MLVSS/h), and a reasonable microbial spatial distribution.


Autotrophic nitrogen removal Granular morphology Granular composition Spatial microbial distribution 



Financial supports of this work by National Natural Science Foundation of China (U1609214;51408570), Major Projects for Science and Technology Development of Zhejiang Province, China (2015C02037), Zhejiang Science and Technology Program key projects, China (2017C03010), and the Research Fund of Tianjin Key Laboratory of Aquatic Science and Technology are greatly appreciated.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental EngineeringZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Recycling and Eco-treatment of Waste Biomass of Zhejiang ProvinceZhejiang University of Science and TechnologyHangzhouChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Marine Environment and Ecology, Ministry of EducationOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina
  4. 4.Laboratory of Development and Application of Rural Renewable Energy, Ministry of AgricultureBiogas Institute of Ministry of AgricultureChengduChina
  5. 5.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of GujratGujratPakistan
  6. 6.Resources and Environment DepartmentBinzhou UniversityBinzhouChina

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