Atmospheric environment

Removal characteristics and kinetic analysis of an aerobic vapor-phase bioreactor for hydrophobic alpha-pinene

Yifeng Jiang , Shanshan Li , Zhuowei Cheng , Runye Zhu , Jianmeng Chen


Received October 21, 2011,Revised February 14, 2012, Accepted , Available online August 02, 2012

Volume 24,2012,Pages 1439-1448

Biofiltration is considered an effective method to control volatile organic compounds (VOCs) pollution. This study was conducted to evaluate the potential use of a bacterial biofilter packed with wood chips and peat for the removal of hydrophobic α-pinene. When inoculated with two pure degraders and adapted activated sludge, a removal efficiency (RE) of more than 95% was achieved after a start-up period of 11 days. The maximum elimination capacity (EC) of 50 g/(m3. hr) with RE of 94% was obtained at empty bed retention time (EBRT) of 102 sec. When higher α-pinene concentrations and shorter EBRTs were applied, the REs and ECs decreased significantly due to mass-transfer and biological reaction limitations. As deduced from the experimental results, approximately 74% of α-pinene were completely mineralized by the consortiums and the biomass yield was 0.60 g biomass/g α-pinene. Sequence analysis of the selected bands excised from denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis revealed that the inoculated pure cultures could be present during the whole operation, and others were closely related to bacteria being able to degrade hydrocarbons. The kinetic results demonstrated that the whole biofiltration for α-pinene was diffusion-limit controlled owing to its hydrophobic characteristics. These findings indicated that this bacterial biofiltration is a promising technology for the remediation of hydrophobic industrial waste gases containing α-pinene.

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