Nitrite and nitrate inhibition thresholds for a glutamate-fed bio-P sludge

Natalia Rey-Martínez, Gökçe Merdan, Albert Guisasola*, Juan Antonio Baeza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) is an efficient and sustainable technology to remove phosphorus from wastewater. A widely known cause of EBPR deterioration in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) is the presence of nitrate/nitrite or oxygen in the anaerobic reactor. Moreover, most existing studies on the effect of either permanent aerobic conditions or inhibition of EBPR by nitrate or free nitrous acid (FNA) have been conducted with a “Candidatus Accumulibacter” or Tetrasphaera-enriched sludge, which are the two major reported groups of polyphosphate accumulating organisms (PAO) with key roles in full-scale EBPR WWTPs. This work reports the denitrification capabilities of a bio-P microbial community developed using glutamate as the sole source of carbon and nitrogen. This bio-P sludge exhibited a high denitrifying PAO (DPAO) activity, in fact, 56% of the phosphorus was uptaken under anoxic conditions. Furthermore, this mixed culture was able to use nitrite and nitrate as electron acceptor for P-uptake, being 1.8 μg HNO2–N·L−1 the maximum FNA concentration at which P-uptake can occur. Net P-removal was observed under permanent aerobic conditions. However, this microbial culture was more sensitive to FNA and permanent aerobic conditions compared to “Ca. Accumulibacter”-enriched sludge.

Original languageEnglish
Article number131173
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Denitrifying polyphosphate accumulating organisms (DPAO)
  • Enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR)
  • Free nitrous acid (FNA)
  • Inhibition
  • Nitrate


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