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Syst Appl Microbiol. 2001 Dec;24(4):588-96.

The CANON system (Completely Autotrophic Nitrogen-removal Over Nitrite) under ammonium limitation: interaction and competition between three groups of bacteria.

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Department of Biotechnology, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia.


The CANON system (Completely Autotrophic Nitrogen Removal Over Nitrite) can potentially remove ammonium from wastewater in a single, oxygen-limited treatment step. The usefulness of CANON as an industrial process will be determined by the ability of the system to recover from major disturbances in feed composition. The CANON process relies on the stable interaction between only two bacterial populations: Nitrosomonas-like aerobic and Planctomycete-like anaerobic ammonium oxidising bacteria. The effect of extended periods of ammonium limitation was investigated at the laboratory scale in two different reactor types (sequencing batch reactor and chemostat). The lower limit of effective and stable nitrogen removal to dinitrogen gas in the CANON system was 0.1 kg N m(-3) day(-1). At this loading rate, 92% of the total nitrogen was removed. After prolonged exposure (> 1 month) to influxes lower than this critical NH4+-influx, a third population of bacteria developed in the system and affected the CANON reaction stoichiometry, resulting in a temporary decrease in nitrogen removal from 92% to 57%. The third group of bacteria were identified by activity tests and qualititative FISH (Fluorescence In Situ Hybridisation) analysis to be nitrite-oxidising Nitrobacter and Nitrospira species. The changes caused by the NH4+-limitation were completely reversible, and the system re-established itself as soon as the ammonium limitation was removed. This study showed that CANON is a robust system for ammonium removal, enduring periods of up to one month of ammonium limitation without irreversible damage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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