Application of a novel two-stage biofiltration system for simulated brackish aquaculture wastewater treatment

Xiang Fei, Shanshan Sun, Shengbing He, Jungchen Huang, Weili Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Biofiltration is one kind of common technology used for treating micro-polluted brackish aquaculture wastewater. Based on the characteristics of actual water quality, a novel two-stage biofiltration system was set up to reduce potential nutrient pollution brought by the frequent exchange of water in brackish pond aquaculture. Zeolite was selected as filtration media for the first stage and pyrite mixed with a small amount of sulfur for the second stage. Apart from the adsorption of nutrients exerted by these natural minerals, biofilm played a leading role in nutrient removal. The surface and internal pore of zeolite-sheltered nitrifiers and sulfur-containing compounds enhanced autotrophic denitrification. It was found that ammonia adsorption capacity of zeolite was reduced by nearly 58% when salinity was increased to 1.5%, while phosphate adsorption capacity of pyrite was hardly influenced and systematic hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 24 h was proven appropriate, 9.6 h and 14.4 h for the two stages, respectively. Meanwhile, removal efficiency of 96.5% for NH4 +-N and 92.1% for total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) was achieved under this condition. The analysis of microbial community of biofilm indicated that dominant genera responsible for nitritation and nitration on the surface of zeolite were Nitrosomonas and Nitrospira, respectively. Dominant genera responsible for autotrophic denitrification on the surface of pyrite and sulfur were both Thiobacillus. In addition, Ferritrophicum, related to the iron-oxidizing bacterium, also coexisted due to biological oxidation of pyrite. Long-term operation verified applicability and stability of this two-stage biofiltration system for brackish aquaculture wastewater purification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)636-646
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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