Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association (1995)

Degradation of isobutanal at high loading rates in a compost biofilter.

PMID 16187591


Biofiltration has been increasingly used for cleaning waste gases, mostly containing low concentrations of odorous compounds. To expand the application area of this technology, the biofiltration of higher pollutant loading rates has to be investigated. This article focuses on the biodegradation of isobutanal (IBAL) in a compost biofilter (BF) at mass loading rates between 211 and 4123 g/m3/day (30-590 ppm(v)). At mass loading rates up to 785 g/m3/day, near 100% removal efficiencies could be obtained. However, after increasing the loading rate to 1500-1900 g/m3/ day, the degradation efficiency decreased to 62-98%. In addition, a pH decrease and production of isobutanol (IBOL) and isobutyric acid (IBAC) were observed. This is the first report showing that an aldehyde can act as electron donor as well as acceptor in a BF. To study the effects of pH, compost moisture content, and electron acceptor availability on the biofiltration of IBAL, IBOL, and IBAC, additional batch and continuous experiments were performed. A pH of 5.2 reduced the IBAL degradation rate and inhibited the IBOL degradation, although adaptation of the microorganisms to low pH was observed in the BFs. IBAC was not degraded in the batch experiments. High moisture content (51%) initially had no effect on the IBOL production, although it negatively affected the IBAL elimination increasingly during a 21-day time-course experiment. In batch experiments, the reduction of IBAL to IBOL did not decrease when the amount of available electron acceptors (oxygen or nitrate) was increased. The IBAL removal efficiency at higher loading rates was limited by a combination of nutrient limitation, pH decrease, and dehydration, and the importance of each limiting factor depended on the influent concentration.