Project ID



Bioreactors show significant potential for removing nitrate from Iowa’s drained fields. The investigators tested the design and management of bioreactors to see what factors can make the bioreactors operate most efficiently, and how that performance compares to other drainage water quality improvement practices.

Key Question

How can we design and operate bioreactors to optimize their nitrate removal under field conditions?


This was answered by evaluating pilot- and field-scale bioreactors to evaluate design factors (e.g., cross-sectional bioreactor shape, bioreactor length to width ratio, bioreactor volume, and retention time) and environmental factors in the field (e.g., temperature, flow rates, nitrate concentrations).

Principal Investigator(s)

Matt Helmers


Alok Bhandari

Year of Grant Completion