In order to enhance nitrogen removal from domestic wastewater with a carbon/nitrogen (C/N) ratio as low as 2.2:1, external carbon source was prepared by short-term fermentation of food wastes and its effect was evaluated by experiments using sequencing batch reactors (SBRs). The addition of fermented food wastes, with carbohydrate (42.8 %) and organic acids (24.6 %) as the main organic carbon components, could enhance the total nitrogen (TN) removal by about 25 % in contrast to the 20 % brought about by the addition of sodium acetate when the C/N ratio was equally adjusted to 6.6:1. The fermented food waste addition resulted in more efficient denitrification in the first anoxic stage of the SBR operation cycle than sodium acetate. In order to characterize the metabolic potential of microorganisms by utilizing different carbon sources, Biolog-ECO tests were conducted with activated sludge samples from the SBRs. As a result, in comparison with sodium acetate, the sludge sample by fermented food waste addition showed a greater average well color development (AWCD590), better utilization level of common carbon sources, and higher microbial diversity indexes. As a multi-organic mixture, fermented food wastes seem to be superior over mono-organic chemicals as an external carbon source.
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