Effect of Formaldehyde on Biofilm Activity and Morphology in an Ultracompact Biofilm Reactor for Carbonaceous Wastewater Treatment

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The effects of formaldehyde on biofilm morphology and biomass activity were investigated in an ultracompact biofilm reactor (UCBR) for carbonaceous wastewater treatment. The wastewater contained a fixed amount of glucose (with a chemical oxygen demand concentration of 600 mg/L) and an increasing concentration of formaldehyde (ranging from 21.4 to 271.1 mg/L). An influent formaldehyde concentration higher than 75 mg/L could facilitate filamentous growth (on biofilm) control and lead to a higher biofilm density, which is desirable as it enhanced the UCBR performance stability. However, at an influent formaldehyde concentration higher than 214.4 mg/L, biomass production was inhibited and deteriorations of biofilm morphology and biomass activity were observed. This study showed that it was desirable to maintain an influent formaldehyde concentration lower than 202.2 mg/L, as this concentration could achieve a good biofilm morphology while not inhibiting its microbial activity.

Keywords: attached-growth system; biofilm; filamentous growth; formaldehyde; toxicity; ultracompact biofilm reactor

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/106143006X98787

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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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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