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World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 31, Issue 10, pp 1501–1515 | Cite as

Biological technologies for the removal of sulfur containing compounds from waste streams: bioreactors and microbial characteristics

  • Lin LiEmail author
  • Jingying Zhang
  • Jian Lin
  • Junxin Liu
Review

Abstract

Waste gases containing sulfur compounds, such as hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, thioethers, and mercaptan, produced and emitted from industrial processes, wastewater treatment, and landfill waste may cause undesirable issues in adjacent areas and contribute to atmospheric pollution. Their control has been an area of concern and research for many years. As alternative to conventional physicochemical air pollution control technologies, biological treatment processes which can transform sulfur compounds to harmless products by microbial activity, have gained in popularity due to their efficiency, cost-effectiveness and environmental acceptability. This paper provides an overview of the current biological techniques used for the treatment of air streams contaminated with sulfur compounds as well as the advances made in the past year. The discussion focuses on bioreactor configuration and design, mechanism of operation, insights into the overall biological treatment process, and the characterization of the microbial species present in bioreactors, their populations and their interactions with the environment. Some bioreactor case studies are also introduced. Finally, the perspectives on future research and development needs in this research area were also highlighted.

Keywords

Air pollution control Bioreactors Sulfur containing compounds Microbial characterization Desulfurization bacteria 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors express their sincere thanks to Dr. Watts for the English revision of the manuscript. This work was financially supported by the Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (No. 2010ZX07319-001-03) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51478456).

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center for Eco-Environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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