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The Start-Up of Aerated Submerged Fixed-Bed Biofilm Reactors for Steady State Nitrification, Elawwad, Abdelsalam, El-Halim Hisham Abd, and Koeser Heinz , International Journal of Environmental Pollution and Remediation (IJEPR), Volume 1, Issue 1, p.20-30, (2012) Abstractelawwad_et_al._2012Website

The effects of two different start-up regimes on the operation performance and population dynamics of nitrification were evaluated in aerated submerged fixed-bed biofilm reactors (SFBBRs) operated at 20 °C on a medium-strength ammonium wastewater at the bench scale. The reactors were operated in parallel at start-up with two reactors under the maximum nitrogen loading rate condition (NLR) designed for the system, and for the other two reactors, the NLR was increased stepwise over a period of 22 days. The dominant microorganism among the ammonia-oxidising bacteria (AOB) in the seeding sludge was Nitrosomonas oligotropha. There was an observed growth of Nitrosospira and Nitrosomonas europaea/eutropha when the reactors were started up. Nitrosospira vanished during the course of reactor operations, while N. communis was observed to flourish in the second low-load stage of the SFBBR cascade. Nitrospira was the dominant nitrite-oxidising bacteria (NOB) genus present throughout the investigation. Reactors gradually loaded showed higher nitrification rates during the start-up. However, there was no significant difference in the total time required to reach steady state between the two start-up regimes. The AOB required 30 days and the NOB required an additional 8 days on average to reach steady state because NOB development was inhibited by free ammonia (FA). Proposals with respect to pH control, seeding sludge and sludge recycling were developed to shorten the start-up period in SFBBRs. The specific nitrification rates of the attached biomass in SFBBRs were compared to previous studies as well. The results from these experiments will aid in process design.