The effectiveness of bioaugmentation in the improvement of the start-up of a biofilm airlift reactor to perform partial nitrification was investigated. Two identical biofilm airlift reactors were inoculated. The non-bioaugmented reactor (NB-reactor) was inoculated with conventional activated sludge, whereas the bioaugmented reactor (B-reactor) was seeded with the same conventional activated sludge but bioaugmented with nitrifying activated sludge from a pilot plant performing full nitritation under stable conditions (100% oxidation of influent ammonium to nitrite). The fraction of specialized nitrifying activated sludge in the inoculum of the B-reactor was only 6% (measured as dry matter). To simplify comparison of the results, operational parameters were equivalent for both reactors. Partial nitrification was achieved significantly faster in the B-reactor, showing a very stable operation. The results obtained by fluorescence in situ hybridization assays showed that the specialized nitrifying biomass added to the B-reactor remained in the biofilm throughout the start-up period. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
- Aerobic granules