Australian Centre for Water
and Environmental Biotechnology

AWMC Seminar Program: Chen Cai

Chen Cai


Can Nitrate Reduction by Denitrifying Anaerobic Methane Oxidizing Microorganisms Reach a Practically Useful Rate?


Abstract: Methane in biogas has been proposed to be an electron donor to facilitate complete nitrogen removal using denitrifying anaerobic methane oxidizing (DAMO) microorganisms in an anammox reactor, by reducing the nitrate produced. However, the slow growth and the low activity of DAMO microorganisms cast a serious doubt about the practical usefulness of such a process. In this study, a previously established lab-scale membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR), with biofilms consisting of a coculture of DAMO and anammox microorganisms, was operated to answer if the DAMO reactors can achieve a nitrate reduction rate that can potentially be applied for wastewater treatment. Through progressively increasing nitrate and ammonium loading rates to the reactor, a nitrate removal rate of 684 ± 10 mg-N L-1d-1 was achieved after 453 days of operation. This rate is, to our knowledge, by far the highest reported for DAMO reactors, and far exceeds what is predicted to be required for nitrate removal in a sidestream (5.6 to 135 mg-N L-1d-1) or mainstream anammox reactor (3.2 to 124 mg-N L-1d-1). Mass balance analysis showed that the nitrite produced by nitrate reduction was jointly reduced by anammox bacteria at a rate of 354 ± 3 mg-N L-1d-1, accompanied by an ammonium removal rate of 268 ± 2 mg-N L-1d-1, and DAMO bacteria at a rate of 330 ± 9 mg-N L-1d-1. This study shows that the nitrate reduction rate achieved by the DAMO process can be high enough for removing nitrate produced by anammox process, which would enable complete nitrogen removal from wastewater.



Event Details
Date & Time: 
Friday, 25 September 2015
9am - 10am
Venue: AIBN Building 75, Level 1 Seminar Room
  • Chen Cai

Event Contact: