An internal loop airlift reactor (ILALR) is developed and studied for biodegradation of phenol/m-cresol as single and dual substrate systems under batch and fed batch operation using an indigenous mixed microbial strain, predominantly Pseudomonas sp. The results showed that the culture could degrade phenol/m-cresol completely at a maximum concentration of 600mgl(-1) and 400mgl(-1), respectively. Batch ILALR study has revealed that phenol has been preferentially degraded by the microbial culture rather than m-cresol probably owing to the toxic effect of the later. Sum kinetic model evaluated the interaction between the phenol/m-cresol in dual substrate system, which resulted in a high coefficient of determination (R(2)) value >0.98). The fed batch results showed that the strain was able to degrade phenol/m-cresol with maximum individual concentrations 600mgl(-1) each in 26h and 37h, respectively. Moreover for fed batch operation, degradation rates increased with increase in feed concentration without any lag in the degradation profile.
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