A gas-phase biofilter inoculated with the fungus Fusarium solani, isolated from a consortium grown on hexane vapors, was used to degrade this compound. The biofilter, packed with perlite and operated with an empty bed residence time of 60 s, was supplied with hexane concentrations between 0.5 g m−3 and 11 g m−3. Biofilter performance was evaluated over 100 days of operation. Several strategies for supplying the nutritive mineral medium were assayed to maintain favorable conditions for the fungal growth and activity. The Fusarium system was able to sustain an average elimination capacity of 90 g m−3reactor h−1 with a maximum of 130 g m−3reactor h−1 . The mass transfer limitations due to high biomass development in the biofilter were confirmed in batch experiments. Bacterial contamination was observed, but experiments in the biofilter and in batch reactors using selective inhibitors and controlled pH confirmed the predominant role of the fungus. Results indicate that fungal biofilters can be an effective alternative to conventional abatement technologies for treating hydrophobic compounds.
Fungal biofilter Hexane Fusarium solaniBiodegradation Mass transfer Hydrophobic substrate
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We thank the Mexican Research Council of Science and Technology (Project CONACYT-SEMARNAT 120-C01-2002) and thank José Sepulveda, Carmen Fajardo and Sergio Hernández for their technical support.
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