Cooperation between partial-nitrification, complete ammonia oxidation (comammox), and anaerobic ammonia oxidation (anammox) in sludge digestion liquid for nitrogen removal.
The challenge of sludge digester liquor treatment is its high ammonium nitrogen (NH-N) concentration. Early reports found that complete ammonia oxidation (comammox) was not present and anaerobic ammonia oxidation (anammox) was difficult to achieve in most sludge digester liquor treatments. In this study, NH-N removal by cooperation between partial-nitrification, comammox, and anammox processes was achieved in a sequencing batch reactor (SBR) for sludge digester liquor treatment. The results showed that 2100-2200 mg/L of NH-N was removed in the SBR with 98.82% removal efficiency. In addition, 55.11% of NH-N was converted to nitrite nitrogen (NO-N) by partial-nitrification, 25.43% of NH-N was converted to nitrate nitrogen (NO-N) by comammox, and 18.28% of NH-N was removed by anammox. During the operation, in the SBR, the relative abundance of the dominant ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (Chitinophagaceae) was 18.89%, that of the dominant anammox bacteria (Candidatus Kuenenia) was 0.10%, and that of the dominant comammox bacteria (Nitrospira) was 0.20%. Therefore, the high nitrogen removal efficiency in this system was considered the result of the combination of the three processes. These results showed that comammox and anammox could play very important roles in nitrogen transformation and energy-saving in nitrogen removal systems.