How to cope with NOB activity and pig manure inhibition in a partial nitritation-anammox process?

Andres Pichel, Reyes Moreno, Monica Figueroa, Jose Luis Campos, Ramon Mendez, Anuska Mosquera-Corral, Angeles Val del Rio

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13 Scopus citations


The treatment of pig manure can be performed by anaerobic digestion to diminish the organic matter content and produce biogas, and the resulting digestate has to be subsequently treated for the removal of nitrogenous compounds. The partial nitritation-anammox (PN-AMX) process constitutes an interesting alternative. In the present study, three different short experiments were initially performed to study the influence of nitrite oxidizing bacteria (NOB) present in the inoculum and the pig manure composition over the start-up of the PN-AMX process. The presence of NOB in the inoculum showed to be more crucial than the available anammox activity for a good performance of the PN-AMX process. Batch activity experiments showed a reduction of at least 44.4% in the maximum specific anammox activity due to the pig manure, probably owed to its conductivity (between 6 and 8 mS/cm). In the subsequent long-term operation of the PN-AMX process with non-diluted pre-treated pig manure, the NOB were successfully limited for DO concentrations of 0.1 mg O2/L, and a nitrogen removal rate (NRR) of 0.1 g N/(L·d) was achieved despite the presence of significant NOB activity in the start-up. A strict control of the DO concentration, with an optimal range of 0.07–0.10 mg O2/L, was fundamental to balance the removal of nitrogen by PN-AMX and prevent NOB activity. The presence of organic matter, with a ratio sCOD/N in the influent between 0.18 and 1.14 g/g, did not hinder the PN-AMX process, and the contribution of heterotrophic denitrification to the removal of nitrogen was less than 10%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-404
Number of pages9
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Anammox
  • Dissolved oxygen control
  • Inhibition
  • Nitrite oxidizers (NOB)
  • Pig manure


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