Toluene degradation in the recycle liquid of biotrickling filters for air pollution control.
Pollutant degradation in biotrickling filters for waste air treatment is generally thought to occur only in the biofilm. In two experiments with toluene degrading biotrickling filters, we show that suspended microorganisms in the recycle liquid may substantially contribute to the overall pollutant removal. Two days after reactor start up, the overall toluene elimination capacity reached a maximum of 125 g m(-3) h(-1), which was twice that found during prolonged operation. High biodegradation activity in the recycle liquid fully accounted for this short-term peak of pollutant elimination. During steady-state operation, the toluene degradation in the recycle liquid was 21% of the overall elimination capacity, although the amount of suspended biomass was only 1% of the amount of immobilized biomass. The results suggest that biotrickling filter performance may be improved by selecting operating conditions allowing for the development of an actively growing suspended culture.
Cox, HH; Nguyen, TT; Deshusses, MA
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