Kinetics and thermodynamics of anaerobic ammonium oxidation process using Brocadia spp. dominated mixed cultures

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Anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) is a recently discovered microbial process commonly applied to treat ammonium pollution in effluents with low organic carbon content. Modeling anammox processes is important for simulating and controlling full-scale plants. In this study, the anammox process was simulated using three models, and substrate and growth parameters obtained by different research groups. Two Brocadia spp.-dominated mixed cultures, one granular and the other flocculent, were used for this purpose. A very good correlation between experimental data using both sludges and model predictions was achieved by one of the models, obtaining correlation coefficients higher than 0.997. Other models and stoichiometric equations tested were unable to predict the anammox kinetics and stoichiometry. Furthermore, the thermodynamic behavior of the two mixed cultures was compared through the determination of the energy of activation of the anammox conversion at temperatures ranging from 9 to 40 °C. Optimum temperature for anammox activity was established at 30–35 °C in both cases. The energy of activation values calculated for granular sludge and flocculent sludge were 64 and 124 kJ mol−1, respectively.

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