Bioremediation of Phenol-Contaminated Industrial Wastewater Using a Bacterial Consortium—from Laboratory to Field

  • Gregory Poi
  • Arturo Aburto-Medina
  • Puah Chum Mok
  • Andrew S. Ball
  • Esmaeil Shahsavari


Singapore is an island city state with an economy dependent on petrochemicals and shipping, but with severely limited water resources. This study aimed to establish a suitable methodology specifically for the translation of a laboratory-scale system to an industrial scale for the treatment of phenol-contaminated wastewater. A habitat-specific microbial consortium was developed and reconstituted from 22 pure cultures dominated by Acinetobacter sp., Bacillus sp. and Pseudomonas sp. to form a synthetic biofilm-forming community with the capacity to degrade phenol-contaminated wastewater. The laboratory experiment was scaled-up to 400 m3 by using biotrickling reactors to reduce the phenol level from 407 mg L−1 to below detection limit over 104 days incubation. The results showed that the microbial consortia could also reduce the toxicity of the wastewater while degrading the phenol and lowering the wastewater COD. Further, this approach could be translated into the field without the need for a purpose-built primary treatment facility preventing the generation of excessive biomass and eliminating the need for sludge disposal.


Phenol Bioaugmentation Wastewater Bacteria 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory Poi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Arturo Aburto-Medina
    • 3
  • Puah Chum Mok
    • 4
  • Andrew S. Ball
    • 2
    • 3
  • Esmaeil Shahsavari
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Chemical and Life SciencesSingapore PolytechnicSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesFlinders UniversityBedford ParkAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Remediation, School of ScienceRMIT UniversityBundooraAustralia
  4. 4.Biomax Technologies Pte Ltd.SingaporeSingapore

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