Toluene biodegradation and biofilm growth in an aerobic fixed-film reactor

Jean-Pierre Arcangeli, Erik Arvin

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Aerobic biodegradation of toluene in a biofilm system was investigated. Toluene is easily biodegradable, like several other aromatic compounds. The degradation was first order at bulk concentrations lower than 0.14 mg/l and zero order above 6–8 mg/l. An average yield coefficient of 1 mg biomass/mg toluene degraded was found. A chemical oxygen demand balance relative to three biofilm growth scenarios showed that only a minor fraction of the carbon in the influent accumulated as biomass in the reactor. Of this accumulated biomass only a small fraction was active biomass, about 5% protein. A characterization of the carbon fractions leaving the reactor showed a significant production of soluble polymers and formation of suspended biomass. The latter was probably due to the detachment of filamentous bacteria. A decrease in toluene degradation was observed when the oxygen concentration was increased from 5 to about 20 mg/l. Future studies must show if this effect was due to inhibition.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)510-517
Publication statusPublished - 1992

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