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Anaerobic ammonia oxidizing (anammox) bacteria are able to remove nitrogen in both attached-and suspended-growth systems. Attached-growth or biofilm systems are better able to handle high nitrogen loading (total nitrogen concentrations (NH4+-N plus NO2---N) up to 80.5 mM) than suspended-growth systems. High nitrogen concentrations (along with constant concentrations of minor nutrients and trace elements) were fed to enriched anammox cultures in suspended-and attached-growth systems, contained in sequencing batch reactors (SBRs). For attached-growth a polystyrene sponge was used as the growth medium. The specific anammox activity (SAA) with attached-growth systems was higher than the SAA for suspended-growth systems. Nitrous oxide (N2O) production was significantly greater in both reactors at pH 6.8 than at pH 7.3, 7.8, and 8.3. N2O production from both reactors was significantly higher at an NH4+:NO2- ratio of 0.5:1 than at ratios of 0.75:1, 1:1, and 1:1.3. However, N2O production from the attached-growth system was slightly lower than N2O production from the suspended-growth system. The results from this research suggest that attached-growth reactors could provide operational advantages over suspended-growth reactors in field applications.
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