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Open AccessArticle

Effect of Tidal Cycling Rate on the Distribution and Abundance of Nitrogen-Oxidizing Bacteria in a Bench-Scale Fill-and-Drain Bioreactor

1
Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA
2
Department of Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23284, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(4), 492; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10040492
Received: 7 March 2018 / Revised: 9 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Water and Wastewater Treatment)
Most domestic wastewater can be effectively treated for secondary uses by engineered biological systems. These systems rely on microbial activity to reduce nitrogen (N) content of the reclaimed water. Such systems often employ a tidal-flow process to minimize space requirements for the coupling of aerobic and anaerobic metabolic processes. In this study, laboratory-scale tidal-flow treatment systems were studied to determine how the frequency and duration of tidal cycling may impact reactor performance. Fluorescent in situ hybridization and epifluorescence microscopy were used to enumerate the key functional groups of bacteria responsible for nitrification and anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox), and N-removal efficiency was calculated via a mass-balance approach. When water was cycled (i.e., reactors were filled and drained) at high frequencies (16–24 cycles day−1), nitrate accumulated in the columns—presumably due to inadequate periods of anoxia that limited denitrification. At lower frequencies, such as 4 cycles day−1, nearly complete N removal was achieved (80–90%). These fill-and-drain systems enriched heavily for nitrifiers, with relatively few anammox-capable organisms. The microbial community produced was robust, surviving well through short (up to 3 h) anaerobic periods and frequent system-wide perturbation. View Full-Text
Keywords: ammonium oxidizing bacteria; nitrite oxidizing bacteria; anammox; wastewater treatment; fill and drain; constructed wetlands; nitrification; bioreactors ammonium oxidizing bacteria; nitrite oxidizing bacteria; anammox; wastewater treatment; fill and drain; constructed wetlands; nitrification; bioreactors
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Battistelli, J.M.; Franklin, R.B.; Mills, A.L. Effect of Tidal Cycling Rate on the Distribution and Abundance of Nitrogen-Oxidizing Bacteria in a Bench-Scale Fill-and-Drain Bioreactor. Water 2018, 10, 492.

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