Carbon availability shifts the nitrogen removal pathway and microbial community in biofilm airlift reactor

Yale Deng, Yunjie Ruan*, Mohammad J. Taherzadeh, Jishuang Chen, Wanhe Qi, Dedong Kong, Bin Ma, Xiangyang Xu, Huifeng Lu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study investigated the response of nitrogen removal performance and microbial community to different carbon composites in biofilm airlift reactors for wastewater treatment. Three reactors were filled with poly (butylene succinate) and bamboo powder composite at the blending ratio of 9:1, 1:1 and 1:9. Increasing the component of bamboo powder in the carrier reduced the carbon availability and had an adverse effect on nitrate removal efficiency. However, bamboo powder improved the ammonia removal rate which mainly through autotrophic nitrification. Three reactors exhibited distinct microbial compositions in both bacterial and fungal diversity. High inclusion of bamboo power decreased the relative abundance of denitrifiers Denitromonas and increased the relative abundance of nitrifiers, including Nitromonas, Nitrospina and Nitrospira. Moreover, correlation network revealed a competitive interaction between the taxa responsible for ammonia removal and nitrate removal processes. Those results indicated the feasibility of steering nitrogen removal pathway through carrier formulation in wastewater treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124568
JournalBioresource Technology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Bacterial community
  • Biofilm composite carrier
  • Correlation network
  • Fungal community
  • Nitrogen removal

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