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Effects of Substrate and Oxygen Loading Rates on Gas-Phase Toluene Removal in a Three-Phase Biofilm Reactor

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A three-phase, circulating-bed biofilm reactor using macroporous carriers removed toluene from a gas stream continuously for more than six months. Three steady states were established with toluene loading rates varying from 0.030 to 0.059 mol/m2▪d. For each steady state, short-term experiments evaluated the effects of toluene and oxygen loading rates. At least 99% of the biomass in the system was accumulated inside the carrier macropores, and the total biomass was proportional to the toluene loading rate. Toluene removal ranged from approximately 100 to 55%. The lower toluene removals were associated with oxygen limitation, which also resulted in the accumulation of an intermediate (3-methylcatechol) and nontoluene chemical oxygen demand. The results suggest that excessive biomass accumulation hurt process performance by depleting oxygen within the biofilm because increased endogenous respiration consumed more oxygen, while increased biomass density may have slowed oxygen diffusion.
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Keywords: BIOFILM; CIRCULATING BED; INTERMEDIATES; OXYGEN LIMITATION; SURFACE LOADING; TOLUENE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-05-01

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    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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