Two new forms of biological filtration known as Anammox and Sharon are being investigated as candidates for improved waste water management processes.
The technologies may later be applied to use in aquaria.
A paper to be published in next month's edition of the journal Biotechnology Advances says that present day waste water treatment processes can be considerably improved by adopting Sharon and Anammox over existing biofiltration techniques.
These two new methods of nitrogen removal, are based on partial nitrification. Here, ammonium gets broken down into nitrite by bacteria while simultaneously being broken down through anaerobic ammonium oxidation.
Sharon stands for System for High Ammonia Removal Over Nitrite process and involves part converstion of ammonium to nitrite, while Anammox, which stands for Anaerobic Ammonium Oxidation, achieves similar results anaerobically using the equation NH4+ + NO2- = N2 + 2H2O.
Anammox uses currently undescribed plactomycete bacteria to do its magic, such as Candidatus "Brocadia anammoxidans" and Candidatus "Kuenenia stuttgartiensis".
For more details see: Khin T, Annachhatre AP. (2004) - Novel microbial nitrogen removal processes. Biotechnol Adv. 2004 Sep;22(7):519-32.