This project aims to develop and deliver a novel cometabolism-based biotechnology for efficient micropollutants removal from waste and water. Specifically, this project aims to:

  • Develop a novel cometabolism-driven biological process for effective treatment of micropollutants at the low concentrations from water resources.
  • Create a strong scientific understanding of this novel cometabolic process, including involved microbial communities and transformation pathways of micropollutants.
  • Establish comprehensive models describing efficient removal of micropollutants from waste and water for the cometabolic degradation processes.


  • Australian Research Council


  • Dr Jelena Radjenovic (ICRA)

Project Outcomes

  • The enrichment and identification of microbial cultures degrading contaminants (i.e., ammonia oxidizing bacteria, AOB) has been completed.
  • The physiological activity and genetic stability of enriched cultures have been monitored by molecular techniques. Bacterial community structure in the enriched AOB culture has been investigated.
  • The studies of kinetics of degradation and transformation, ammonium oxidation rate of AOB, metabolite formation under different remediation scenarios and varying environmental conditions, and uptake and transformation mechanisms have been completed.
  • Detailed models of the relevant ammonium oxidation-based biological processes have been proposed and tested against the available experimental data. Model-based optimisation has been conducted.


  • Peng, L., Chen, X., Xu, Y., Liu, Y., Gao, S.H., Ni, B.J. (2015) Biodegradation of pharmaceuticals in membrane aerated biofilm reactor for autotrophic nitrogen removal: A model-based evaluation. Journal of Membrane Science. 494, 39-47.
  • Xu, Y., Radjenovic, J., Yuan, Z., Ni, B.J. (2016) Biodegradation of Atenolol by an Enriched Nitrifying Sludge: Products and Pathways. In submission.
  • Nieradzik, L.M. Radjenović, J., Yuan, Z., Ni, B.J. (2015) Biotransformation of selected pharmaceuticals in sewers. 9th IWA Specialist Conference on Assessment and Control of Micropollutants and Hazardous Substances in Water. Singapore.
  • Nieradzik, L., Radjenovic, J., Yuan, Z., Ni, B.J. (2015) Kinetic analysis of in-sewer biotransformation of selected pharmaceuticals. 9th IWA Symposium on Systems Analysis and Integrated Assessment Watermatex 2015. Gold Coast, Australia.

Project members

Other members

  • Ludwika Nieradzik
  • Yifeng Xu
  • Bingzheng Wang