Fungal biofilters for toluene biofiltration: Evaluation of the performance with four packing materials under different operating conditions

Juan P. Maestre, Xavier Gamisans, David Gabriel, Javier Lafuente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Packing materials play a key role in the performance of bioreactors for waste gas treatment and particularly in biofilter applications. In this work, the performance of four differently packed biofilters operated in parallel for the treatment of relatively high inlet concentration of toluene was studied. The reactors were compared for determining the suitability of coconut fiber, digested sludge compost from a waste water treatment plant, peat and pine leaves as packing materials for biofiltration of toluene. A deep characterisation of materials was carried out. Biological activity and packing capabilities related to toluene removal were determined throughout 240 days of operation under different conditions of nutrients addition and watering regime. Also, biofilters recovering after a short shutdown was investigated. Nutrient addition resulted in improved removal efficiencies (RE) and elimination capacities (EC) of biofilters reaching maximum ECs between 75 and 95 g m-3 h-1 of toluene. In the first 80 days, the pH decreased progressively within the reactors, causing a population change from bacteria to fungi, which were the predominant decontaminant microorganisms thereafter. All reactors were found to recover the RE rapidly after a 5 days shutdown and, in a maximum of 7 days, all reactors had been completely recuperated. These results point out that fungal biofilters are a suitable choice to treat high loads of toluene. In general, coconut fiber and compost biofilters exhibited a better performance in terms of elimination capacity and long-term stability. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-692
JournalChemosphere
Volume67
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2007

Keywords

  • Fungal biofilters
  • Nutrients supply
  • Packing material characterization
  • Shutdown
  • Watering

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