Biomass control in waste air biotrickling filters by protozoan predation.
Two protozoan species as well as an uncharacterized protozoan consortium were added to a toluene-degrading biotrickling filter to investigate protozoan predation as a means of biomass control. Wet biomass formation in 23.6-L reactors over a 77-day period was reduced from 13.875 kg in a control biotrickling filter to 11.795 kg in a biotrickling filter enriched with protozoa. The average toluene vapor elimination capacity at 1 g/m3 toluene and 64 m3/(m3. h) was 31.1 g/(m3. h) in the control and 32.2 g/(m3. h) in the biotrickling filter enriched with protozoa. At higher toluene inlet concentrations, toluene degradation rates increased and were slightly higher in the biotrickling filter enriched with protozoa. The lower rate of biomass accumulation after the addition of protozoa was due to an increase of carbon mineralization (68% as compared to 61% in the control). Apparent biomass yield coefficients in the control and enriched trickling filter were 0.72 and 0.59 g dry biomass/g toluene, respectively. The results show that protozoan predation may be a useful tool to control biomass in biotrickling filters, however, further stimulation of predation of the biomass immobilized in the reactor is required to ensure long-term stability of biotrickling filters.
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