, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 303–312 | Cite as

Partial nitrification to nitrite using low dissolved oxygen concentration as the main selection factor

Original Paper


Partial nitrification to nitrite (nitritation) can be achieved in a continuous process without sludge retention by wash out of nitrite oxidising bacteria (NOB) while retaining ammonia oxidising bacteria (AOB), at elevated temperatures (the SHARON process) and, as demonstrated in this paper, also at low dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations. Enriched AOB was attained at a low DO concentration (0.4 mg l−1) and a dilution rate of 0.42 day−1 in a continuous process. A higher oxygen affinity of AOB compared to NOB seemed critical to achieving this. This was verified by determining the oxygen half saturation constant, K o, with similar oxygen mass transfer resistances for enriched AOB and NOB as 0.033 ± 0.003 mg l−1 and 0.43 ± 0.08 mg l−1, respectively. However, the extent of nitritation attained was found to be highly sensitive to process upsets.


Activated sludge Continuous process Dissolved oxygen concentration Nitritation Nitrite oxidising bacteria 



Dr Sandra Hall is gratefully acknowledged for contribution of the FISH analysis results. Dr Beatrice Keller is also gratefully acknowledged for FIA analytical work contributions. This work was funded by the Australian Research Council, ARC Project DP0210502.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Blackburne
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhiguo Yuan
    • 1
  • Jürg Keller
    • 1
  1. 1.Advanced Wastewater Management CentreThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.GHD Pty. LtdBrisbaneAustralia

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