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Effect of Oxygen Partial Pressure and Chemical Oxygen Demand Loading on the Biofilm Properties in Membrane-Aerated Bioreactors

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Membrane-aerated biofilms with oxygen and nutrients diffusing from the opposite sides possess distinct properties, including the ability to couple aerobic and anaerobic processes. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of oxygen partial pressure and chemical oxygen demand (COD) loading on biofilm properties. Two laboratory-scale membrane-aerated bioreactors were operated for a total of 283 days, with one reactor operated at 42, 60, and 89 kPa (0.41, 0.59, and 0.88 atm) oxygen, and the other reactor at 25 kPa (0.25 atm) oxygen (air control). The biofilm detached at the oxygen partial pressures of 60 and 89 kPa (0.59 and 0.88 atm) at a COD loading of 11.3 kg COD/1000 m 2/d, but was sustained at the oxygen partial pressures of 25 and 42 kPa (0.25 and 0.41 atm), with a porous structure at the membrane interface at the COD loading of 11.3 kg COD/1000 m 2/d. Biofilm formation was improved at a higher COD loading. It is proposed that the loss of extracellular polymeric substances at the biofilm bottom is the cause for the biofilm detachment subjected to a higher oxygen partial pressure.
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Keywords: biofilm structure; confocal laser scanning microscopy; extracellular polymeric substances; membrane aerated bioreactor; nitrification; surface property

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2009

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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.

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