State Water Resources Research Institute Program


Project ID: 2012NJ311B
Title: Mitigation of Environmental Nitrogen Release by Enrichment of Hyper Ammonia Producing (HAP) Bacteria in Waste Treatment Systems
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2012
End Date: 2/28/2013
Congressional District: NJ-006
Focus Categories: Nitrate Contamination, Treatment, Water Quality
Keywords: anaerobic biodegradation, waste treatment, nitrogen
Principal Investigators: Rattana, Sunirat; Fennell, Donna E.
Federal Funds: $ 5,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 10,001
Abstract: Manure management from agriculture is currently being singled out for improvement since high ammonia and nitrogen levels in land-applied manure is associated with poor source water quality. Nitrogen causes a decrease in dissolved oxygen in water and accelerates the eutrophication process. Trends in water quality in New Jersey streams from 1998-2007 in five watershed regions show that concentrations of total organic nitrogen plus ammonia and of dissolved nitrate plus nitrite from more than 60 stations have increased in nine and 19 stations, respectively. Much of this increase comes from application of organic fertilizer and release of sewage. Therefore, techniques that effectively treat high nitrogen waste from sewage sludge and manures must be developed.

The objective of this research is to develop techniques for improving anaerobic biodegradation of high N-wastes by enrichment of microorganisms responsible for rapid ammonia production from organic-N and tolerance to high ammonia concentrations. Studies on such organisms - i.e., hyper ammonia producing (HAP) bacteria - is needed to better understand how microorganisms play a role in recovering ammonia from human waste, sludge and manure. Isolation of these specific microorganisms will be further applied to achieve the overall goals of waste treatment efficiency enhancement. Enabling production of high ammonia concentrations in waste treatment reactors could allow more efficient direct capture and re-use of ammonia as a fuel or fertilizer.

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