High-Temperature Biological Ammonia Oxidation

Introduction Nitrification is an important natural and industrial process resulting in the removal of ammonia. Recent revolutions in the scientific understanding of microbial nitrogen-cycling have already led to advanced treatment technologies, such as the anammox wastewater treatment facilities currently employed in Germany and Austria. While possibly more costeffective than current nitrogen-removal processes, the anammox system required extensive modification of existing technologies. The nitrifying organisms cultured by UW researchers and described here function nearly identically as those currently found in treatment facilities within the United States. Thus, the current infrastructure needs little or no modification to take advantage of this technology. Technology description UW researchers have discovered and cultured organisms that convert ammonia to nitrite at temperatures well above body temperature. The cultivation of this organism provides an important alternate means of treating industrial and municipal wastewater effluents. This organism’s increased optimal temperature results in a rate of nitrification ten times higher than in currently available organisms. This larger nitrification rate provides either an increased nitrogen load capacity or reduction of the retention time required for adequate treatment. Additionally, the purified enzymes of these unique high temperature microbes might provide important industrial or biotechnology applications we have not considered. Business opportunity This technology will be of interest in wastewater treatment, industrial enzyme development, and other potential biotechnology applications. Intellectual property position The UW is evaluating this technology for worldwide patenting. For more information on this technology contact:
Kelly FitzGerald, PhD Technology Manager, UW TechTransfer kafg@u.washington.edu 206-543-3970

Type of Offer: Licensing

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