Bioaugmentation and quorum sensing disruption as solutions to increase nitrate removal in sequencing batch reactors treating nitrate-rich wastewater


Dongsheng Shen , Xinyi Ruan , Jun Yin , Xueyan Cui , Na Li

DOI:10.1016/j.jes.2020.06.007

Received April 07, 2020,Revised , Accepted June 03, 2020, Available online June 21, 2020

Volume 32,2020,Pages 179-185

Bioaugmentation of denitrifying bacteria can serve as a promising technique to improve nutrient removal during wastewater treatment. While denitrification inhibition by bacterial quorum sensing (QS) in Pseudomonas aeruginosa has been indicated, the application of bacterial QS disruption to improve nitrate removal from wastewater has not been investigated. In this study, the effect of bioaugmentation of P. aeruginosa SD-1 on nitrate removal in sequencing batch reactors that treat nitrate rich wastewater was assessed. Additionally, the potential of a quorum sensing inhibitor (QSI) to improve denitrification following bacterial bioaugmentation was evaluated. Curcumin, a natural plant extract, was used as a QSI. The chemical oxygen demand (COD) and initial nitrate concentration of the influent were 700±20 mg/L and 200±10 mg/L respectively, and their respective concentrations in the effluent were 56.9±3.2 mg/L and 9.0±3.2 mg/L. Thus, the results revealed that bioaugmentation of P. aeruginosa SD-1 resulted in an increased nitrate removal to 82%±1%. Further, nitrate was almost completely removed following the addition of the QSI, and activities of nitrate reductase and nitrite reductase increased by 88%±2% and 74%±2% respectively. The nitrogen mass balance indicated that aerobic denitrification was employed as the main pathway for nitrogen removal in the reactors. The results imply that bioaugmentation and modulation of QS in denitrifying bacteria, through the use of a QSI, can enhance nitrate removal during wastewater treatment.

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