Journal of environmental science and health. Part A, Toxic/hazardous substances & environmental engineering

Factors influencing the aerobic biodegradation of 2,4-dinitrotoluene in continuous packed bed reactors.

PMID 21929468


Factors affecting continuous 2,4-DNT degradation by an immobilized mixed microbial culture were investigated including the cell adaptation to this toxic substrate, 4-NT co-degradation, packing material porosity and substrate mass loading. Experiments were carried out in two packed bed reactors, with poraver (porous glass) and expanded slate as packing materials, using a concurrent water-air flow with ample oxygen. Running the system as a batch reactor with re-circulated medium showed that the immobilized cells adapted to higher 2,4-DNT concentrations yielding higher substrate biodegradation rates. The 2,4-DNT removal rate further increased, up to 180-265 mg L(-1)d(-1), when the immobilized biomass cultivation was switched to a continuous mode. The type of the packing material influenced the 2,4-DNT removal rate, apparently due to the difference in biofilm development. Significant changes in the biofilm composition were observed compared to the original inoculum despite poor biofilm growth.