Biological Methods for Removing Nitrate from Drinking Water

Rezvani F, Sarrafzadeh MH, Ebrahimi S, Oh HM. Nitrate removal from drinking water with a focus on biological methods: a review. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2017 May 31. doi: 10.1007/s11356-017-9185-0.

This article summarizes several developed and industrial technologies for nitrate removal from drinking water, including physicochemical and biological techniques, with a focus on autotrophic nitrate removal. Approaches are primarily classified into separation-based and elimination-based methods according to the fate of the nitrate in water treatment. Biological denitrification as a cost-effective and promising method of biological nitrate elimination is reviewed in terms of its removal process, applicability, efficiency, and associated disadvantages. The various pathways during biological nitrate removal, including assimilatory and dissimilatory nitrate reduction, are also explained. A comparative study was carried out to provide a better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of autotrophic and heterotrophic denitrification. Sulfur-based and hydrogen-based denitrifications, which are the most common autotrophic processes of nitrate removal, are reviewed with the aim of presenting the salient features of hydrogenotrophic denitrification along with some drawbacks of the technology and research areas in which it could be used but currently is not. The application of algae-based water treatment is also introduced as a nature-inspired approach that may broaden future horizons of nitrate removal technology.

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