The use of crab-shell chitin for biological denitrification: Batch and column tests

Mary Ann Robinson-Lora, Rachel A. Brennan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Crab-shell chitin (SC-20) was evaluated for its ability to enhance biological denitrification in bench-scale tests. In the presence of SC-20, highly reducing conditions were generated, supporting both denitrification and sulfate reduction of aerated water. Rapid degradation of protein in SC-20 was observed to cause an initial high release of ammonium and carbon, while a slower, continuous release of calcium carbonate from the crab shell maintained the pH near 9 throughout the tests. In batch tests, denitrification rates of 2.4 ± 0.2 mg N/L-d were obtained. Columns receiving a continuous nitrate load of 24.5 mg N/L-d sustained complete denitrification for an average of 149 d (250 pore volumes). The denitrification rates and longevity of SC-20 chitin are comparable to, or better than, those previously reported for other polymeric substrates. This, in addition to its particle size, non-swelling nature, and ease of delivery in slurry form make SC-20 an attractive electron donor source for groundwater bio-denitrification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-541
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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