Versatility of nitrite/nitrate-dependent anaerobic methane oxidation (n-DAMO): First demonstration with real wastewater

Zhuan Khai Lim, Tao Liu, Min Zheng, Zhiguo Yuan, Jianhua Guo, Shihu Hu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Nitrite/nitrate-dependent anaerobic methane oxidation (n-DAMO) processes have been proven effective for nitrogen removal from synthetic wastewater. However, the demonstration using real wastewater has not been achieved yet. To this end, this study investigated the versatile applications of n-DAMO process in real wastewater treatment for the first time. Two methane-based membrane biofilm reactors (MBfRs) were employed to combine anammox and n-DAMO microorganisms, targeting nitrogen removal in mainstream (i.e., domestic sewage) and sidestream (i.e., anaerobic digestion liquor), respectively. Considering various technologies in sewage treatment, three different technical routes, including nitritation + methane-based MBfR, partial nitritation + methane-based MBfR and partial nitritation + anammox + methane-based MBfR, were investigated comprehensively, all producing effluent quality with total nitrogen (TN) at 5 mg N/L or less. Regarding the sidestream treatment, the methane-based MBfR also removed up to 96% TN from the partially nitrified anaerobic digestion liquor at a practically useful rate of 0.5 kg N/m3/d. Microbial communities revealed by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing indicated the dominance of n-DAMO archaea in both reactors, along with the existence of anammox bacteria and n-DAMO bacteria. As the first demonstration of n-DAMO process in real wastewater, this study comprehensively confirmed the applicability of using methane as carbon source to remove nitrogen from both mainstream and sidestream wastewater, supporting their adoption by industries in practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116912
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Anaerobic digestion liquor
  • Anaerobic methane oxidation
  • Anammox
  • Domestic sewage
  • Membrane biofilm reactor
  • n-DAMO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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