Long-term performance and microbial dynamics of an up-flow fixed bed reactor established for the biodegradation of fluorobenzene
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An up-flow fixed bed reactor (UFBR) was established to investigate the biodegradation of fluorobenzene (FB) under a number of operating conditions, which included variation in the concentration of FB in the feed stream (up to 180 mg l−1) and temporary suspension of feeding. Degradation of FB was followed for a period of 8 months under a continuous flow regime. During the operation of the UFBR, FB was never detected in the reactor effluent, being biodegraded by the microbial biofilm or adsorbed to the granular activated carbon (GAC). Biodegradation of FB was observed from the beginning of the reactor operation, and overall, it accounted for 50% of the total amount fed to the bioreactor. High organic loads of FB (210–260 mg d−1 dm−3) were found to affect the biological removal efficiency, possibly due to an inhibitory effect caused by the higher FB concentrations fed to the bioreactor (149–179 mg l−1). When FB feeding was suspended for 1 month, biodegradation continued, indicating that the adsorbed FB became bioavailable. Biofilm bacterial dynamics were followed throughout the UFBR operation by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and plate-counting techniques, showing that a quite stable community was found in the bioreactor, and this was mainly attributed to the high selective pressure exerted by the presence of FB.
M.F. Carvalho, R. Ferreira Jorge, and I.S. Henriques acknowledge research grants from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), Portugal (BD/21839/99, BPD/6977/2001, and SFRH/BD/5275/2001, respectively) and Fundo Social Europeu (III Quadro Comunitário de Apoio). This work was supported in part by the European Community's Human Potential Programme under contract HPRTN-CT-2002-00213 [BIOSAP]. The authors thank Pedro Moradas-Ferreira (IBMC, Porto) for his support.
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