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Anammox enrichment from reject water on blank biofilm carriers and carriers containing nitrifying biomass: operation of two moving bed biofilm reactors (MBBR)

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Abstract

The anammox bacteria were enriched from reject water of anaerobic digestion of municipal wastewater sludge onto moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) system carriers—the ones initially containing no biomass (MBBR1) as well as the ones containing nitrifying biomass (MBBR2). Duration of start-up periods of the both reactors was similar (about 100 days), but stable total nitrogen (TN) removal efficiency occurred earlier in the system containing nitrifying biomass. Anammox TN removal efficiency of 70% was achieved by 180 days in both 20 l volume reactors at moderate temperature of 26.0°C. During the steady state phase of operation of MBBRs the average TN removal efficiencies and maximum TN removal rates in MBBR1 were 80% (1,000 g-N/m3/day, achieved by 308 days) and in MBBR2 85% (1,100 g-N/m3/day, achieved by 266 days). In both reactors mixed bacterial cultures were detected. Uncultured Planctomycetales bacterium clone P4, Candidatus Nitrospira defluvii and uncultured Nitrospira sp. clone 53 were identified by PCR-DGGE from the system initially containing blank biofilm carriers as well as from the nitrifying biofilm system; from the latter in addition to these also uncultured ammonium oxidizing bacterium clone W1 and Nitrospira sp. clone S1-62 were detected. FISH analysis revealed that anammox microorganisms were located in clusters in the biofilm. Using previously grown nitrifying biofilm matrix for anammox enrichment has some benefits over starting up the process from zero, such as less time for enrichment and protection against severe inhibitions in case of high substrate loading rates.

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Acknowledgments

The research was supported by the Estonian target-financed research project ‘‘Processes in macro- and microheterogeneous and nanoscale systems and related technological applications (SF0180135s08)”, by the Archimedes Foundation program “Optimization, monitoring and development of biochemical processes for energy production based on anaerobic digestion (SLOKT11027T)”

and by the Estonian Science Foundation research project “Alternative ways of anaerobic ammonium oxidation process and the ways of its usage” (ETF 9370). Anne Paaver is acknowledged for the analyses of water samples and Siegfried E. Vlaeminck for FISH images and comments on manuscript.

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Zekker, I., Rikmann, E., Tenno, T. et al. Anammox enrichment from reject water on blank biofilm carriers and carriers containing nitrifying biomass: operation of two moving bed biofilm reactors (MBBR). Biodegradation 23, 547–560 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10532-011-9532-7

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