Nitrate removal of water and wastewater by solid phase denitrification

Document Type : Review Article


1 University of Tehran



Years ago nitrate pollution in water and soil has been a major concern in the world's environmental issues. Nitrogen-containing compounds in the environment can cause new problems, such as river eutrofication and a dangerous disease called methemoglobinemia and other disorders in human health. One of the most important wastewater treatment goals is the removal of nitrogen, which is carried out by chemical, physical and biological processes that biological methods of nitrogen removal are more efficient and economical. Nitrification is one of the main processes for the removal of nitrate in water, a process that requires no oxygen, in which bacteria use from nitrate as an electron receiver to obtain energy for growth. Solid-phase denitrification process is an emerging technology which has received increasing attention in recent years. It uses biodegradable polymers as both the carbon source and biofilm carrier for denitrifying microorganisms this process is a promising technology for the removal of nitrate from water and wastewater. In the future, more attention can be devoted to the simultaneous removal of nitrate and other pollutants from water by Solid-phase denitrification, thereby ensuring the health of the environment and human.


Main Subjects

[1]. Choi J, Maruthamuthu. S, Lee H, Hyun Ha T, Bae J. Nitrate removal by electro-bioremediation technology in Korean soil. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2009;168: 1208–1216
[2]. Bahadoran Z, Mirmiran P, Ghasemi A, Kabir A, Azizi F, Hadaegh F. Is dietary nitrate/nitrite exposure a risk factor for development of thyroid abnormality? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nitric Oxide. 2015; 47: 65–76
[3]. Moorman, T.B, Parkin, T.B, Kaspar, T.C, Jaynes, D.B. Denitrification activity, wood loss, and N2O emissions over 9 years from a wood chip bioreactor. Ecol. Eng. 2010; 36: 1567–1574
[4]. Elgood, Z, Robertson, W.D, Schiff, S.L, Elgood, R. Nitrate removal and greenhouse gas production in a stream-bed denitrifying bioreactor. Ecol. Eng. 2010; 36: 1575–1580
[5]. Wang J, Hou W, Qian Y. Immobilization of microbial cells using polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)—polyacrylamide gels. Biotechnol Tech.1995; 9: 203–208
[6]. Manohar S, Karegoudar TB. Degradation of naphthalene by cells of Pseudomonas sp. strain NGK 1 immobilized in alginate, agar and polyacrylamide. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol.1998:49:785– 792
[7]. Son HJ, Kim HG, Kim KK. Increased production of bacterial cellulose by Acetobacter sp. V6 in synthetic media under shaking culture conditions. Bioresour Technol. 2003; 86:215–219.
[8]. Ba¨ckdahl H, Helenius G, Bodin A, Nannmark U. Mechanical properties of bacterial cellulose and interactions with smooth muscle cells. Biomaterials. 2006; 27:2141–2149
[9]. Svensson A, Nicklasson E, Harrah T, Panilaitis B, Kaplan DL. Bacterial cellulose as a potential scaffold for tissue engineering of cartilage. Biomaterials. 2005; 26:419–431
[10].            Wang J.L, Yang N. Partial nitrification under limited dissolved oxygen conditions. Process Biochem. 2004;39 (10): 1223–1229.
[11].            Chen, Z.Q, Wen, Q.X, Wang, J.L, Li, F. Simultaneous removal of carbon and nitrogen from municipal-type synthetic wastewater using net-like rotating biological contactor (NRBC). Process Biochem.2006; 41 (12): 2468–2472.
[12].            Liu Q.J, Hu X, Wang J.L. Performance characteristics of nitrogen removal in SBR by aerobic granules. Chin. J. Chem. Eng. 2005;13 (5): 669–672.
[13].            Aslan S, Turkman A. Biological denitrification of drinking water using various natural organic solid substrates. Water Sci. Technol.2003;48 (11−12): 489–495.
[14].            Wang J.L, Kang J. The characteristics of anaerobic ammonium oxidation (ANAMMOX) by granular sludge from an EGSB reactor. Process Biochem.2005;40 (5): 1973–1978.
[15].            Karanasios K.A, Vasiliadou, I.A, Pavlou S, Vayenas D.V, 2010. Hydrogenotrophic denitrification of potable water: a review. J. Hazard Mat. 2008;180 (1–3): 20–37.
[16].            Van Rijn J, Tal Y, Schreier H.J. Denitrification in recirculating systems: theory and applications. Aquac. Eng.2006; 34 (3):364–376.
[17].            Ovez B, Mergaert J, Saglam M. Biological denitrification in drinking water treatment using the seaweed Gracilaria verrucosa as carbon source and biofilm carrier. Water Environ. Res.2006;78 (4): 430–434.
[18].            Schipper L.A, Robertson W.D, Gold A.J, Jaynes D.B, Cameron S.C. Denitrifying bioreactors-an approach for reducing nitrate loads to receiving waters. Ecol. Eng.2010; 36 (11): 1532–1543
[19].            Bill K.A, Bott C.B, Murthy S.N. Evaluation of alternative electron donors for denitrifying moving bed biofilm reactors (MBBRs). Water Sci. Technol.2009; 60 (10): 2647–2657.
[20].            Modin O, Fukushi K, Yamamoto K. Denitrification with methane as external carbon source. Water Res. 2007;41 (12): 2726–2738.
[21].            Fan Z.X, Hu J, Wang J.L. Biological nitrate removal using wheat straw and PLA as substrate. Environ. Technol. 2012;33: 2369–2374.
[22].            Wang J, Chu L. Biological nitrate removal from water and wastewater by solid-phase denitrification process. Biotechnology Advances.2016.
[23].            Chu L.B, Wang J.L. Denitrification of groundwater using PHBV blends in packed bed reactors and the microbial diversity. Chemosphere.2016;155 (3): 463–470.
[24].            Boley A, Muller W.R. Denitrification with polycaprolactone as solid substrate in a laboratory-scale recirculated aquaculture system. Water Sci. Technol.2005;52 (10−11): 495–502.
[25].            Hiraishi A, Khan S.T. Application of polyhydroxyalkanoates for denitrification in water and wastewater treatment. Appl. Microb. Biotechnol. 2003;61 (2): 103–109.
[26].            Yadegari F, Abdollahzadeh sharghi E, Adl M. Biological denitrification of drinking water in an anoxic-oxic membrane bioreactorr by suspended activated sludge. fourth national chemistry, petrochemicstry and nano conference, Iran, Tehran, Petrograd Industrial and Mineral Research Center- petrogas.2016 [Persian].
[27].            Tangsir1 S, Naseri A.A, Moazed H, Hashemi Garmdareh S.E, Broumand Nasab S- Evaluate the Performance of Sugarcane Bagasse as a Carbonic Source Required in the Design of Denitrification Substrates. Irrigation Sciences and Engineering. 2017; 40(2)39-57 [Persian].
[28].            Godini H, Rezayi A, Biranvand F, Jahanbani F. Removal of nitrate from water by using a Consortium of denitrifiers stabilized on active carbon in a floating bed reactor, 2012. Lorestan [Persian].
[29].            Vagheei R, Ganjidoust H, Azimi A. A, Ayati B.Treatment of Nitrate-contaminated Drinking Water Using Autotrophic Denitrification in a Hydrogenised Biofilter, 2009[Persian].
[30].            Mir bagheri S.A, Amir soleymani A, Bazaz zadeh R. Treatment of nitrate-contaminated ground water by denitrification using heterotrophic and autotrophic bacteria (Case Study for Groundwater Refinery of Tehran). Second International Symposium on Environmental Engineering, Tehran, Industrial University of Khajeh Nasir.2009 [Persian].
[31].            Lijuan Feng a, Kun Chen a, Doudou Han a, Jing Zhao a, Yi Lua, Guangfeng Yang a, Jun Mua, Xiangjiong Zhao. Comparison of nitrogen removal and microbial properties in solid-phase denitrification systems for water purification with various pretreated lignocellulosic carriers. Bioresource Technology 224 (2017) 236 245
[32].            Shen, Z.Q, Wang J.L. Biological denitrification using cross-linked starch/PCL blends as solid carbon source and biofilm carrier. Bioresour. Technolo.2011; 102 (19): 8835–8838.
[33].            Khan SH, Horiba Y, Takahashi N, Hirashi A. Activity of community composition of denitrifying bacteria in Poly (3- hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate)- using Solid phase denitrification processe. Microbs environ.2007; 22 (1): 20-31.
[34].            Gibert O, Pomierny S, Rowe I, Kalin R.M. Selection of organic substrates as potential reactive materials for use in a denitrification permeable reactive barrier (PRB). Bioresour. Technol. 2008;99 (16): 7587–7596.
[35].            Healy M.G, Ibrahim T.G, Lanigan G.J, Serrenho A.J, Fenton O. Nitrate removal rate, efficiency and pollution swapping potential of different organic carbon media in laboratory denitrification bioreactors. Ecol. Eng. 2012; 40: 198–209.
[36].            Volokita M, Belkin S, Abeliovich A, Soares M.I.M. Biological denitrification of drinking water using newspaper. Water Res.1996; 30 (4): 965–971.
[37].            Aslan S, Turkman A. Simultaneous biological removal of endosulfan (alpha plus beta) and nitrates from drinking waters using wheat straw as substrate. Environ. Int.2004; 30 (4): 449–455.
[38].            Xu Z.X, Shao L, Yin H.L, Chu H.Q, Yao Y.J. Biological denitrification using corncobs as a carbon source and biofilm carrier. Water Environ. Res.2009; 81 (3): 242–247.
[39].            Robertson W.D. Nitrate removal rates inwoodchipmedia of varying age. Ecol. Eng.2010; 36 (11): 1581–1587.
[40].            Cameron S.G, Schipper L.A. Hydraulic properties, hydraulic efficiency and nitrate removal of organic carbon media for use in denitrification beds. Ecol. Eng. 2012;41: 1–7.
[41].            Walters E, Hille A, He M, Ochmann C, Horn H. Simultaneous nitrification denitrification in a biofilm airlift suspension (BAS) reactor with biodegradable carriermaterial. Water Res.2009; 43 (18): 4461–4468.
[42].            Zhao X, Meng X.L, Wang J.L. Biological denitrification of drinking water using biodegradable polymer. Int. J. Environ. Pollut.2009; 38 (3): 328–338.
[43].            Zhou H.H, Zhao X, Wang J.L. Nitrate removal fromgroundwater using biodegradable polymers as carbon source and biofilm support. Int. J. Environ. Pollut.2009; 38 (3): 339–348.
[44].            Shen Z.Q, Wang J.L. Biological denitrification using cross-linked starch/PCL blends as solid carbon source and biofilm carrier. Bioresour. Technolo.2011;102 (19): 8835–8838.
[45].            Takahashi M, Yamada T, Tanno M, Tsuji H, Hiraishi A. Nitrate removal efficiency and bacterial community dynamics in denitrification processes using poly (L-lactic acid) as the solid substrate. Microb. Environ. 2011; 26 (3):212–219.
[46].            Wu W.Z, Yang L.H, Wang J.L. Denitrification using PBS as carbon source and biofilm support in a packed-bed bioreactor. Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. 2013; 20 (1):333–339.
[47].            Warneke S, Schipper L.A, Matiasek M.G, Scow K.M, Cameron S, Bruesewitz D.A, McDonald I.R. Nitrate removal, communities of denitrifiers and adverse effects in different carbon substrates for use in denitrification beds. Water Res. 2011;45:5463–5475.
[48].            Gutierrez-Wing M.T, Malone R.F, Rusch K.A. Evaluation of polyhydroxybutyrate as a carbon source for recirculating aquaculture water denitrification. Aquac. Eng.2012; 51:36–43.
[49].            Tokiwa Y, Calabia B, Ugwu C, Aiba S. Biodegradability of plastics. Int. J. Mol. Sci.2009;10 (9): 3722
[50].            Chen, Q.H., Li, X.F., Lin, J.H. Preparation and properties of biodegradable bamboo powder/polycaprolactone composites. J. Forest. Res. 2009; 20 (3): 271–274.
[51].            Zhang J, Feng C, Hong S, Hao H, Yang Y.Behavior of solid carbon sources for biological denitrification in groundwater remediation. Water Sci. Technol.2012.
[52].            Schipper L.A, Robertson W.D, Gold A.J, Jaynes D.B, Cameron, S.C. Denitrifying bioreactors-an approach for reducing nitrate loads to receiving waters. Ecol. Eng. 2010; 36 (11): 1532–1543.
[53].            Muller W.R, Heinemann S, Wurmthaler R.T. Aspects of PHA (poly- B-hydroxy-butyric- acid) as an h-donator for denitrification in water treatment processes. Water Supply.1992;10: 79–90.
[54].            Zhang Q, Ji F, Xu X. Effects of physicochemical properties of poly-ε-caprolactone on nitrate removal efficiency during solid-phase denitrification. Chem. Eng. J.2016; 283: 604–613.
[55].            Canziani R, Vismara R, Basilico D, Zinni L. Nitrogen removal in fixed-bed submerged biofilters without backwashing. Water Sci. Technol.1999;40 (4–5): 145–152.
[56].            Wang X.M, Wang J.L.Nitrate removal from groundwater using solid-phase denitrification process without inoculating with external microorganisms. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2013;10:955–960.
[57].            Lin Y.F, Jing S.R, Lee D.Y, Chang Y.F, Shih K.C. Nitrate removal from groundwater using constructed wetlands under various hydraulic loading rates. Bioresource Technology, 2008;99: 7504-7513.
[58].            Ghane E, Fausey N.R, Brown L.C. Modeling nitrate removal in a denitrification bed. Water Research, 2015; 71: 294-305.
[59].            Ines M, Soares M, Abeliovich A. Wheat straw as substrate for water denitrification. Water Res.1998; 32 (12): 3790–3794.
[60].            Boley A, Muller W.R, Haider G. Biodegradable polymers as solid substrate and biofilm carrier for denitrification in recirculated aquaculture systems. Aquac. Eng. 2000;22 (1–2): 75–85.
[61].            Zhu S.M, Deng Y.L, Ruan Y.J, Guo X.S, Shi M.M, Shen J.Z. Biological denitrification using poly (butylene succinate) as carbon source and biofilm carrier for recirculating aquaculture system effluent treatment. Bioresour. Technol. 2015;192: 603–610.
[62].            Li P, Zuo J, Wang Y, Zhao J, Tang L, Li Z. Tertiary nitrogen removal for municipal wastewater using a solid-phase denitrifying biofilter with polycaprolactone as the carbon source and filtration medium. Water Res. 2016; 93: 74–83.
[63].            Chu L.B, Wang J.L. Denitrification performance and biofilm characteristics using biodegradable polymers PCL as carriers and carbon source. Chemosphere. 2013; 91 (9):1310–1316.
[64].            Blaszczyk M. Effect of various sources of organic carbon and high nitrite and nitrate concentrations on the selection of denitrifying bacteria. II. Continuous cultures in packed bed reactors. Acta Microb. Pol. 1982; 32 (1): 65–71.
[65].            HondaY, Osawa Z. Microbial denitrification of wastewater using biodegradable polycaprolactone. Polym. Degrad. Stab.2002; 76 (2): 321–327.
[66].            Lee N.M, Welander T. The effect of different carbon sources on respiratory denitrification in biological wastewater treatment. J. Ferment. Bioeng.1996; 82 (3):277–285.
[67].            Neef A, Zaglauer A, Meier H, Amann R, Lemmer H, Schleifer K.H. Population analysis in a denitrifying sand filter: conventional and in situ identification of Paracoccus spp. in methanol-fed biofilms. Appl. Environ. Microbiol.1996; 62 (12): 4329–4339.
[68].            Shen Z.Q, Zhou, Y.X, Wang J.L. Comparison of denitrification performance and microbial diversity using starch/polylactic acid blends and ethanol as electron donor for nitrate removal. Bioresour. Technol.2013;131; 33–39.
[69].            Wu W.Z, Yang L.H, Wang J.L. Denitrification performance and microbial diversity in a packed-bed bioreactor using PCL as carbon source and biofilm carrier. Appl. Microb. Biotechnol.2013; 97 (6), 2725–2733.
[70].            Cang Y, Roberts DJ, Clifford DA. Development of cultures capable of reducing perchlorate and nitrate in high salt solutions. Water Res. 2004; 38:3322- 3330.
[71].            Aslan U, Turkman A. Combined biological removal of nitrate and pesticides using wheat straw as substrate. Process Biochem. 2005;40: 935-943.
[72].            Zhu S, Zheng M, Li C, Gui M, Chen Q, J Ni.Special role of corn flour as an ideal carbon source for aerobic denitrification with minimized nitrous oxide emission. Bioresource Technology, 2015;186: 44-51.
Volume 5, Issue 3
October 2018
Pages 875-889
  • Receive Date: 22 December 2017
  • Revise Date: 27 April 2018
  • Accept Date: 02 May 2018
  • First Publish Date: 23 September 2018