Shortcut biological nitrogen removal in hybrid biofilm/suspended growth reactors

Jinwook Chung, Wookeun Bae, Yong Woo Lee, Bruce Rittmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


A shortcut biological nitrogen removal (SBNR) process converts ammonium directly through nitrite to nitrogen gas, thus requiring less aeration and carbon. We evaluated a hybrid SBNR (HSBNR) reactor containing an anoxic tank followed by an aerobic tank and a settling tank. The aerobic tank was filled with polyvinyl alcohol sponge media (20%, v/v) to attach and retain ammonium oxidizers. Two configurations of the HSBNR reactor were tested for treating a wastewater with high strength ammonium and organic electron donor. The HSNBR reactors accumulated nitrite stably for 1.5 years and maintained a high free ammonia (FA) concentration (20-25 mg/L) and a low dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration (<1 mg/L) in the aerobic tank. Apparently, the biofilm carriers increased the solids retention time (SRT) for ammonium oxidizers, while high FA and low DO selected against nitrite oxidizers and promoted direct denitrification of nitrite in the aerobic tank. The significant amount of chemical oxygen demand (COD) was removed by shortcut denitrification of nitrite in the anoxic tank.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-328
Number of pages9
JournalProcess Biochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Dissolved oxygen
  • Free ammonia
  • High-strength ammonium wastewater
  • Hybrid biofilm reactor
  • Nitrite accumulation
  • Shortcut biological nitrogen removal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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