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J Environ Sci (China). 2012;24(6):999-1005.

Nitrification characteristics of nitrobacteria immobilized in waterborne polyurethane in wastewater of corn-based ethanol fuel production.

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School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China.


A technology to achieve stable and high ammonia nitrogen removal rates for corn distillery wastewater (ethanol fuel production) treatment has been designed. The characteristics of nitrifying bacteria entrapped in a waterborne polyurethane (WPU) gel carrier were evaluated after acclimation. In the acclimation period, nitrification rates of WPU-immobilized nitrobacteria were monitored and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was also carried out to investigate the change in ammonium-oxidizing bacteria. The results showed that the pellet nitrification rates increased from 21 to 228 mg-N/(L-pellet x hr) and the quantity of the ammonia oxidation bacteria increased substantially during the acclimation. A continuous ammonia removal experiment with the anaerobic pond effluent of a distillery wastewater system was conducted with immobilized nitrifying bacteria for 30 days using an 80 L airlift reactor with pellets at a fill ratio of 15% (V/V). Under the conditions of 75 mg/L influent ammonia, hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 3.7-5.6 hr, and dissolved oxygen (DO) of 4 mg/L, the effluent ammonia concentration was lower than 10 mg/L and the ammonia removal efficiency was 90%. While the highest ammonia removal rate, 162 mg-N/(L-pellet x hr), was observed when the HRT was 1.3 hr.

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