Performance and microbial diversity of a trickle-bed air biofilter under interchanging contaminants

Z. Cai, D. Kim, George A. Sorial*, Pascal Saikaly, M. M. Zein, D. B. Oerther

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


A trickle-bed air biofilter (TBAB) was evaluated under conditions of interchanging the feed volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the sequence methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), toluene, methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), styrene, and then back to MEK. The obtained performance results revealed that the biofilter provided high removal efficiency within the critical loading of each VOC, which was previously defined in the non-interchanging VOC fed biofilter. The biofilter easily acclimated to the oxygenated compounds (MEK and MIBK), but re-acclimation was delayed for the aromatic compounds (toluene and styrene). Ratios of the molar mass of CO2 produced per molar mass of VOC removed were investigated. It has been found that the ratios for the aromatic compounds closely resembled the theoretical complete chemical oxidation based ratios while larger differences were encountered with the oxygenated compounds. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis of 16S rRNA genes was used to assess the impact of interchanging VOCs on the bacterial community structure in the biofilter. The results from denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) showed that the structure of the microbial community in the biofilter was different after each interchange of VOCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-42
Number of pages6
JournalEngineering in Life Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Bioengineering


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