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Environ Sci Technol. 2001 Nov 1;35(21):4347-52.

Treatment of volatile organic compounds in a biotrickling filter under thermophilic conditions.

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Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The objectives of this research were to investigate the potential to biologically treat volatile organic compounds emitted by the forest products industry at thermophilic conditions and to examine the microbial community developed at high temperatures. Three biotrickling filters were run in parallel at temperatures ranging from 40 degrees C (mesophilic control) to 70 degrees C. The first phase involved treatment of methanol, for a 3-month run, and the second phase involved a 260-day run on the treatment of alpha-pinene. Methanol removal rates over 100 g m(-3) h(-1) where achieved at temperatures up to 70 degrees C. Alpha-pinene removal was achieved at temperatures up to 60 degrees C with optimal treatment occurring at 55 degrees C at rates up to 60 g m(-3) h(-1). The time for acclimation increased with increasing temperature and was longer for pinene than for methanol. Filter performance was also able to quickly recover from a shutdown period of up to 2 weeks due to the robustness of the microbial communities as determined by DNA fingerprinting analysis. The high-temperature communities treating methanol or pinene were more similar to each other than the mesophilic communities (i.e., 40 degrees C). The mesophilic methanol community had a high degree of functional redundancy, while the mesophilic pinene community was more unique and very distinct from the others. These results show that biofiltration at high temperatures is achievable and opens up a range of possibilities for applying biofiltration to hot gas streams.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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