Start-up of the Anammox process in a membrane bioreactor

C. Trigo, J. L. Campos, J. M. Garrido, R. Méndez

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231 Scopus citations


The start-up of an Anammox process was studied in a membrane sequencing batch reactor (MSBR) in which a submerged hollow fibre membrane module was used to retain the biomass. The reactor was seed with Anammox biomass and fed using the Van de Graaf medium. During a first operating stage, salt precipitation was observed and interfered with microbial activity and caused a decrease of the nitrogen removal rate of the reactor from 100 to only 10 mg l-1 per day. Salt precipitation was avoided by diminishing adequately the Ca and P concentrations of the Van de Graaf medium during the last operating stage. This action increased quickly the activity of the system, and nitrogen removal rate reached up to 710 mg l-1 per day with almost full nitrite removal. Sporadic flotation of the sludge was observed in the MSBR. The use of the membrane avoided biomass wash-out from the system. Moreover, a surprising fact was that Anammox biomass did not grow in flocs in the MSBR, but in granules. This fact showed that this kind of microorganisms have a trend to grow in aggregates. Results indicated that the use of the MSBR could be a suitable system for nitrogen removal by using the Anammox reaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-487
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Anammox
  • Denitrification
  • Granule
  • MSBR
  • Membrane
  • Wastewater


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