Application of a novel respirometric methodology to characterize mass transfer and activity of H2S-oxidizing biofilms in biotrickling filter beds
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The elimination capacity of gaseous H2S biofiltration can be limited either by mass transfer or bioreaction in the biofilm. Assessment of the biological activity of immobilized cells (biofilm) usually implies morphological and physiological changes during the adaptation of cells to respirometric devices operated as suspended cultures. In this study, respirometry of heterogeneous media is advised as a valuable technique for characterizing mass transport and biological activity of H2S-oxidizing biofilms attached on two packing materials from operative biotrickling filters. Controlled flows of liquid and H2S-containing air were recirculated through a closed heterogeneous respirometer allowing a more realistic estimation of the biofilm activity by the experimental evaluation of the oxygen uptake rate (OUR). Specific maximum OUR of 23.0 and 38.5 mmol O-2 (g biomass min)(-1) were obtained for Pall rings and polyurethane foam, respectively. A mathematical model for the determination of kinetic-related parameters such as the maximum H2S elimination capacity and morphological properties of biofilm (i.e., thickness and fraction of wetted area of packing bed) was developed and calibrated. With the set of parameters obtained, the external oxygen mass transport to the wetted biofilm was found to limit the global H2S biofiltration capacity, whereas the non-wetted biofilm was the dominant route for the gaseous O-2 and H2S mass transfer to the biofilm. Oxygen diffusion rate was the limiting step in the case of very active biofilms.
CitationBonilla, W. [et al.]. Application of a novel respirometric methodology to characterize mass transfer and activity of H2S-oxidizing biofilms in biotrickling filter beds. "Biochemical engineering journal", 15 Juliol 2015, vol. 99, p. 24-34.
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