A ratio control strategy was implemented in a continuous granular airlift reactor to achieve and maintain 100% partial nitrification to nitrite (i.e., full nitritation). The control strategy was designed to maintain a constant ratio between the dissolved oxygen (DO) and the total ammonia nitrogen (TAN) concentrations (DO/TAN concentration ratio) in the reactor bulk liquid. The experimental results demonstrated the feasibility of full nitritation of a high-strength ammonium wastewater with a granular reactor operating in continuous mode, when implementing a suitable control strategy. The effect of the DO/TAN concentration ratio on partial nitrification was fast and reversible, upon switching from complete to partial nitrification, despite the presence of nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) in the granule. Even at a DO concentration as high as 7 mg of O2 L-1, full nitritation was obtained, decoupling the achievement of partial nitrification in continuous granular reactors from low DO concentrations. Inhibition of NOB by free ammonia was found to contribute poorly to the achievement of partial nitrification. An extremely high volumetric nitrogen loading rate was achieved (6.1 g of N L-1 day-1 at 30 °C), demonstrating that very compact reactors are applicable to nitrogen removal via nitrite. © 2010 American Chemical Society.