Biofilm and granular systems to improve Anammox biomass retention

I. Fernández, J. R. Vázquez-Padín, A. Mosquera-Corral, J. L. Campos, R. Méndez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

202 Scopus citations


Appropriate biomass retention in reactors is a crucial factor for the accurate operation of the anaerobic ammonium oxidation (Anammox) process due to the slow growth rate of this bacterial population. In the present work two different approaches were studied and compared to improve Anammox biomass retention minimizing wash-out events: (1) formation of granular biomass using influents with high inorganic salts concentrations by production of saline precipitates acting as promoters for biomass aggregation (reactor SBR1); (2) use of zeolite particles as carrier material for Anammox biofilm formation (reactor SBR2). Both alternatives allowed the reduction of biomass wash-out in the effluent to values as low as 18 mg VSS L-1 (SBR1) and 3 mg VSS L-1 (SBR2). As a consequence the biomass concentration increased significantly inside each reactor. In the case of the SBR2 the specific Anammox activity (SAA) of the biomass was also enhanced increasing from 0.35 up to 0.5 g N (g VSS d)-1. Both approaches allow the improvement of the biomass retention, the first option indicating the suitability of the Anammox process to treat wastewaters with high salt content. The second one with zeolite particles could be a good strategy to apply the Anammox process to low salinity wastewaters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-313
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical Engineering Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Adsorption
  • Anaerobic processes
  • Anammox
  • Chemoautotrophs
  • Salinity
  • Wastewater treatment


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