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Biological nitrogen removal from industrial wastewater (pharmaceutical synthetic wastewater) was studied. Sequencing batch reactor (SBR) and sequencing batch biofilm reactor (SBBR) were utilized to treat ammonium-rich wastewater. No external carbon source was added to the reactors. At nitrogen loading rate (NLR) of 2.5 kg N/(m3·day), the efficiency of ammonium removal from synthetic wastewater in SBR was 86.9%. SBBR ammonium removal efficiency under fixed dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration of 0.3 mg O2/dm3 was 98.4%. Specific nitrification rate (SNR) and specific denitrification rate (SDNR) in SBR were 9.24 mg NH4 +-N/(g MLVSS·h) and 18.56 mg NO3 – -N/(g MLVSS·h), respectively. Nitrite accumulation rate (NAR) showed high correlation with DO decrement (R² = 0.983), NAR and simultaneous nitrification and denitrification (SND) had high correlation, too (R² = 0.976). SND efficiency in SBBR reached 94.1% while ammonium oxidizing bacteria (AOB) were dominant and NAR in SBBR process at the DO level of 0.3 mg O2/dm3 was 90.3%.