, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 19–29 | Cite as

Factors Affecting Nitrous Oxide Production: A Comparison of Biological Nitrogen Removal Processes with Partial and Complete Nitrification

  • Sunjin Hwang
  • Kwangun Jang
  • Hyunsup Jang
  • Jihyeon Song
  • Wookeun Bae


Nitrous oxide (N2O) emission from biological nitrogen removal (BNR) processes has recently received more research attention. In this study, two lab-scale BNR systems were used to investigate the effects of various operating parameters including the carbon to nitrogen (C/N) ratio, ammonia loading, and the hydraulic retention time on N2O production. The first system was operated in a conventional BNR mode known as the Ludzack–Ettinger (LE) process, consisting of complete denitrification and nitrification reactors, while the second one was operated in a shortcut BNR (SBNR) mode employing partial nitrification and shortcut denitrification, which requires less oxygen and carbon sources. As the C/N ratio was decreased, a significant increase in N2O production was observed only in the anoxic reactor of the LE process, indicating that N2O was released as an intermediate of the denitrification reaction under the carbon-limited condition. However, the SBNR process did not produce significant N2O even at the lowest C/N ratio of 0.5. When the SBNR process was subjected to increasing concentrations of ammonia, N2O production from the aerobic reactor was rapidly increased. Furthermore, the increasing production of N2O was observed mostly in the aerobic reactor of the SBNR process with a decline in hydraulic retention time. These experimental findings indicated that the increase in N2O production was closely related to the accumulation of free ammonia, which was caused by an abrupt increase of the ammonium loading. Consequently, the partial nitrification was more susceptible to shock loading conditions, resulting in a high production of N2O, although the SBNR process was more efficient with respect to nitrogen removals as well as carbon and oxygen requirements.


denitrification nitrification nitrite accumulation nitrous oxide shortcut biological nitrogen removal (SBNR) 



biological nitrogen removal


carbon to nitrogen ratio


free ammonia


hydraulic retention time




shortcut biological nitrogen removal


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. American Public Health Association, American Water Works Association, and Water Environment Federation (1998) Standard Methods for the examination of water and wastewater, 20th edn. Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  2. Anthonisen, AC, Loehr, RC, Prakasam, EG, Srinath, TBS 1976Inhibition of nitrification by ammonia and nitrous acidJ. Water Pollut. Control Fed.48835852Google Scholar
  3. Bae, W, Baek, SC, Chung, JW, Lee, YW 2002aOptimal operational factors for nitrite accumulation in batch reactorsBiodegradation12359369Google Scholar
  4. Bae, W, Ko, GB, Hong, SH, Lee, YW 2002bLeachate treatment using shortcut biological nitrogen removal processJ. Korean Solid Waste Eng. Soc.19192198Google Scholar
  5. Beline, F, Martinez, J, Chadwick, D, Guiziou, F, Coste, CM 1999Factors affecting nitrogen transformations and related nitrous oxide emissions from aerobically treated piggery slurryJ. Agric. Eng. Res.73235243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brindle, K, Stephenson, T, Semmens, MJ 1998Nitrification and oxygen utilization in a membrane aeration bioreactorJ. Membrane Sci.144197209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Choudhary, MA, Akramkhanov, A, Saggar, S 2002Nitrous oxide emissions from a New Zealand cropped soil: tillage effects, spatial and seasonal variabilityAgric. Ecosys. Environ.933343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chung, JW, Bae, W 2002Nitrite reduction by a mixed culture under conditions relevant to shortcut biological nitrogen removalBiodegradation13163170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dundee, L, Hopkins, DW 2001Different sensitivities to oxygen of nitrous oxide production by Nitrosomonas europaea and Nitrosolobus multiformisSoil Biol. Biochem.3315631565CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Focht, DD 1974The effect of temperature, pH and aeration on the production of nitrous oxide and gaseous nitrogen: a zero-order kinetic modelSoil Sci.118173179Google Scholar
  11. Garrido, JM, Benthum, WAJ, Loosdrecht, MCM, Heijnen, JJ 1997Influence of dissolved oxygen concentration on nitrite accumulation in a biofilm airlift suspension reactorBiotech. Bioeng.53168178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gejlsbjerg, B, Frette, L, Westermann, P 1997Dynamics of N2O production from activated sludgeWater Res.3221132121Google Scholar
  13. Goreau, TG, Kaplan, WA, Wofsy, SC, McElroy, MB, Valois, FW, Watson, SW 1980Production of NO 2 - and N2O by nitrifying bacteria at reduced concentrations of oxygenAppl. Environ. Microbiol.40526532Google Scholar
  14. Hanaki, K, Hong, Z, Matsuo, T 1992Production of nitrous oxide gas during denitrification of wastewaterWater Sci. Technol.2610271036Google Scholar
  15. Hanaki, K, Hong, Z, Matsuo, T 1994Production of nitrous oxide gas during nitrification of wastewaterWater Sci. Technol.30133141Google Scholar
  16. Hynes, RK, Knowles, R 1984Production of nitrous oxide by Nitrosomonas europaea: effects of acetylene, pH, and oxygenCanadian J. Microbiol.3013971404Google Scholar
  17. Itokawa, H, Hanaki, K, Matsuo, T 2000Nitrous oxide production in high-loading biological nitrogen removal process under low COD/N ratio conditionWater Res.35657664Google Scholar
  18. Louzeiro, NR, Mavinic, DS, Oldham, WK, Meisen, A, Gardner, IS 2002Methanol-induced biological nutrient removal kinetics in a full-scale sequencing batch reactorWater Res.3627212732CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mosier, A, Kroeze, C, Nevison, C, Oenema, O, Seitzinger, S, Cleemput, Ovan 1999An overview of the revised 1996 IPCC guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventory methodology for nitrous oxide from agricultureEnviron. Sci. Policy2325333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Park, KY, Inamori, Y, Mizuochi, M, Ahn, KH 2000Emission and control of nitrous oxide from a biological wastewater treatment system with intermittent aerationJ. Biosci. Bioeng.90247252Google Scholar
  21. Pollice, A, Tandoi, V, Lestingi, C 2002Influence of aeration and sludge retention time on ammonium oxidation to nitrite and nitrateWater Res.3625412546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Poth, M, Focht, DD 198515N kinetic analysis of N2O production by Nitrosomonas europaea: an examination of nitrifier denitrificationAppl. Environ. Microbiol.4911341141Google Scholar
  23. Prakasam, TBS, Loehr, RC 1972Microbial nitrification and denitrification in concentrated wasteWater Res.6859869CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Schmidt, I, Sliekers, O, Schmid, M, Bock, E, Fuerst, J, Kuenen, JG, Jetten, MSM, Strous, M 2003New concepts of microbial treatment processes for the nitrogen removal in wastewaterFEMS Microbiol. Rev.27481492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Seinfeld, JH, Pandis, SN 1997Atmospheric Chemistry and PhysicsJohn Wiley and SonsNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. Tseng, C-C, Potter, TG, Koopman, B 1998Effect of influent chemical oxygen demand to nitrogen ratio on a partial nitrification/complete denitrification processWater Res.32165173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. U.S. EPA1993Manual Nitrogen ControlU.S. Environmental Protection AgencyWashingtonEPA/625/R-93/010Google Scholar
  28. Schulthess, van R, Gujer, W 1996Release of nitrous oxide (N2O) from denitrifying activated sludge: verification and application of a mathematical modelWater Res.30521530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Weon, SY, Kim, MS, Lee, SI 1999Effect temperature and free ammonia concentration on nitrification of enriched nitrifiersJ. Korean Soc. Environ. Eng.2116131620Google Scholar
  30. Wrage, N, Velthof, GL, Laanbroek, HJ, Oenema, O 2004Nitrous oxide production in grassland soils: assessing the contribution of nitrifier denitrificationSoil Biol. Biochem.36229236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wrage, N, Velthof, GL, Beusichem, ML, Oenema, O 2001Role of nitrifier denitrification in the production of nitrous oxideSoil Biol. Biochem.3317231732CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sunjin Hwang
    • 1
  • Kwangun Jang
    • 1
  • Hyunsup Jang
    • 1
  • Jihyeon Song
    • 2
  • Wookeun Bae
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Environment & Applied Chemistry, Center for Environmental StudiesKyunghee UniversityYonginKorea
  2. 2.Dept. of Civil & Environmental EngineeringSejong UniversitySeoulKorea
  3. 3.Dept. of Civil & Environmental EngineeringHanyang UniversityAnsanKorea

Personalised recommendations