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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2007 Sep 1;98(1):132-40.

Effluent recirculation to improve perchlorate reduction in a fixed biofilm reactor.

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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0428, USA.


The effect of effluent recirculation on perchlorate reduction in a nominally plug-flow fixed biofilm reactor was studied in two cases: influent concentrations of 10 and 400 microg/L at low hydraulic loading rates (1.9 and 37.5 m(3)/m(2)/day without and with recirculation, respectively) and after a step increase in perchlorate concentration to 1,000 microg/L at the higher hydraulic loading rate (5 and 100 m(3)/m(2)/day without and with recirculation, respectively). Complete perchlorate reduction was sustained for influent concentrations of 400 and 10 microg/L in both flow regimes at the lower hydraulic loading rates. Reactor tracer profiles showed that biofilm diffusion had a more significant effect on mass transfer in the plug flow reactor compared with recirculation. The recirculation bioreactor acclimated more rapidly to increased hydraulic and perchlorate mass loading rates with significantly lower effluent perchlorate compared to the plug flow reactor: 16 microg/L versus 46 microg/L, respectively, although complete perchlorate removal was not achieved in either flow regime after 21 days acclimation to the higher loading. Total biofilm mass was more uniformly distributed in the recirculation reactor which may have contributed to better performance under increased perchlorate loading.

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