The Nitrogen Shortcut


How to avoid harmful ammonia and nitrite buildup in water? If you are following the hashtag#nitrogenremoval series, you might already know!

Today we would like to talk about a special organism: Candidatus kuenenia.Candidatus kuenenia is a genus of bacteria that efficiently converts harmful forms of nitrogen like ammonia and nitrite into nitrogen gas through anaerobic ammonium oxidation (ANAMMOX), a process crucial for biological nitrogen removal.

The anammox is a direct oxidation of ammonium (NH4+) to nitrogen gas (N2) in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic conditions), using nitrite (NO2-) and CO2 as a carbon source. Compared to conventional nitrification–denitrification processes, in which ammonia (NH4+) is oxidized to nitrite (NO2-) and nitrate (NO3-), followed to reduction to nitrogen gas (N2), anammox has a streamlined nitrogen removal pathway. For this reason, this process is recognized as an energy-saving technology, reducing energy consumption for oxidation and eliminating the need for carbon source addition.

Since their discovery in the 1990s, anammox bacteria have been found in various environments, including wastewater treatment plants, lakes, marine suboxic zones, and coastal sediments, playing a vital role in the nitrogen cycle. In wastewater treatment systems, the implementation of anammox technologies is essential to remove excessive nitrogen compounds, which can lead to eutrophication and the proliferation of green algae and cyanobacteria. Some species of Candidatus kuenenia can survive in in both summer and winter conditions, also in presence of oxygen, helping in the optimization of nitrogen removal in wastewater treatment.

At Orvion, we monitor genes specific for Candidatus kuenenia, to identify its presence in the environment. We use this information to monitor the activity of the nitrogen cycle in various ecosystems or if there are any nitrogen disbalance problems.

Are you interested in knowing how we monitor the nitrogen cycle and how to avoid hazardous nitrogen forms buildup in the environment? Follow us on Linkedin to never miss an update,or visit our website for more information!

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