Characteristics of denitrification in a vertical baffled bioreactor

Chong Tan, Qiuyu Zeng, Ge Zhu, Yanning Ning, Xiaohui Zhu, Peipei Zhang, Ning Yan, Yongming Zhang, Bruce E. Rittmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A vertical baffled bioreactor (VBBR) was employed for tertiary denitrification. Its features were designed to minimize the demand for externally supplied electron donor by minimizing net biomass synthesis and oxygen respiration. Over a two-year period, complete denitrification was realized routinely in the VBBR. The nitrate-removal rate was proportion to the influent COD/N ratio, with complete denitrification possible for COD/N ratios >3 gCOD/gN. Batch kinetic tests carried out at the end of years 1 and 2 documented that supplied electron donor was oxidized in the first 1–2 h, but nitrate and nitrite reductions occurred predominantly after 2 h and were driven by internally stored electron donor. Measurements confirmed that the VBBR minimized the demand of added electron donor: The observed yield was only 0.05 mgVSS/mgCOD, and the COD demand for O2 respiration was only 1–6.7% of the COD demand for N reductions. Biofilm samples taken from the upper and lower ports in cylinder of VBBR had similarly high alpha diversity and dominant genera, but the upper biofilm had a denitrification rate about 70% greater than the lower biofilm. The higher denitrification rate in the upper biofilm correlated its higher content of active biomass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111046
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Biofilm
  • Bioreactor
  • Denitrification
  • Electron donor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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