Process Biotechnology

Microbial Biotechnology

Electronic Journal of Biotechnology ISSN: 0717-3458 Vol. 11 No. 4, Issue of October 15, 2008
© 2008 by Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso -- Chile Received November 9, 2007 / Accepted June 26, 2008
DOI: 10.2225/vol11-issue4-fulltext-10

Biological treatment of contaminated air with toluene in an airlift reactor

Alberto O. Vergara-Fernández*
Escuela de Ingeniería Ambiental
Facultad de Ingeniería
Universidad Católica de Temuco
Manuel Montt 56
Temuco, Chile
Tel: 56 45 205684
Fax: 56 45 205430

Erich F. Quiroz#
Escuela de Ingeniería Ambiental
Facultad de Ingeniería
Universidad Católica de Temuco
Manuel Montt 56
Temuco, Chile 

Germán E. Aroca
Escuela de Ingeniería Bioquímica
Facultad de Ingeniería
Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
Av. Brasil 2147
Valparaíso, Chile

Nelson A. Alarcón Pulido
Departamento de Ingeniería Química
Facultad de Ingeniería y Ciencias Geológicas
Universidad Católica del Norte
Avenida Angamos 0610
Antofagasta, Chile

*Corresponding author

Financial support: Dirección de Investigación de la Universidad Católica de Temuco.

Keywords: airlift bioreactors, biofiltration, bioscrubbers, toluene.

Present addresses:  #Laboratorio de Química Ambiental, Departamento de Prevención de Riesgos y Medio Ambiente, Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana, Dieciocho 390, Piso 2, Santiago, Chile.


EC: elimination capacity
RE: removal efficiency
TL: toluene load
VOC: volatile organic compounds
VIC: volatile inorganic compounds

Abstract   Full Text

In this work the variation in the toluene elimination capacity of an airlift bioreactor as a function of the toluene inlet load, using compost as the support material for the microorganisms was studied. In order to evaluate the flexibility of the reactor under changing toluene load, the toluene biodegradation was measured for flows from 2.4 x 10-2 to 0.132 m3 h-1, and a concentration range from 1.4 to 0.8 g m-3. Results show a 100% removal efficiency (RE) for minor flows, however, for a flow increase of 450% the RE decreased 40%, reflecting the equipments weak flexibility in varying flows. Meanwhile the maximum elimination capacity obtained was 230 g m-3 h-1, for toluene loads of 550 g m-3 h-1, corresponding to a flow of 0.132 m3 h-1. It was found that a average biomass concentration in suspension of 3700 g m-3, reflected EC's of 203 g m-3 h-1.

Supported by UNESCO / MIRCEN network