Removal of Quebracho and Tara tannins in fungal bioreactors: Performance and biofilm stability analysis

F. Spennati, M. Mora, V. Tigini, S. La China, S. Di Gregorio, D. Gabriel, G. Munz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

18 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Tannins are polyphenolic compounds produced by plants that are used in the vegetable tanning of leather at industrial scale. Quebracho tannin and Tara tannin are intensively used by the tanning industry and are two of the most recalcitrant compounds that can be found in tannery wastewaters. In this study two reactors fed with Quebracho tannin and Tara tannin, respectively, were inoculated with polyurethane foam cubes colonized with a fungal strain biofilm of Aspergillus tubingensis MUT 990. A stable biofilm was maintained in the reactor fed with Quebracho tannin during 180 days of operation. Instead, biofilm got detached from the foam cubes during the start-up of the reactor fed with Tara tannin and a bacterial-based suspended culture was developed and preserved along the operational period (226 days). Soluble chemical oxygen demand removals up to 53% and 90% and maximum elimination capacities of 9.1 g sCOD m−3 h−1 and 37.9 g sCOD m−3 h−1 of Quebracho and Tara tannins, respectively, were achieved in the reactors without the addition of co-substrates. Next generation sequencing analysis for bacteria and fungi showed that a fungal consortium was developed in the reactor fed with Quebracho tannin while fungi were outcompeted by bacteria in the reactor fed with Tara tannin. Furthermore, Quebracho and Tara tannins were successfully co-treated in a single reactor where both fungi and bacteria were preserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • Biomolecular analyses
  • Fungal reactor
  • Non-sterile conditions
  • Recalcitrant compounds
  • Tannins removal
  • Fungi
  • Tannins
  • Biofilms
  • Bioreactors
  • Waste Water
  • ACID


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