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Temporal and longitudinal biofilm matrix analysis of a biofilter treating ethyl acetate during ozonation


The present paper focuses on the biofilm composition and pattern of biomass in gas biofiltration of ethyl acetate working under continuous addition of ozone (O3). Two biofilters were operated for 230 days, one under continuous addition of O3 (90 ppbv) and another one without. Throughout the operation time, the extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), the main components in the extracellular matrix (ECM), were extracted from the biofilm and characterized qualitatively using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy with attenuated total reflectance (FTIR-ATR) and quantitatively by analyzing its main constituents: carbohydrates, proteins, and glucuronic acid. To date, EPS characterization has been attempted mainly with biofilm aggregates related to water treatment, not air biofiltration. The results of this study may be helpful and provide more information about EPS structure when O3 was added. O3 addition only affected the amount of EPS and not its composition. The greater effect was observed on carbohydrate content since it is the main component in EPS. The EPS/biomass ratio measured was twice lower with O3 addition. Higher removal efficiency (RE) and mineralization rates were obtained with the biofilter subjected to O3 addition, and a smaller volume of a reactor would be necessary to treat all contaminant under this condition. EPS content is only quantitatively reduced by O3 addition, and at the low O3 concentration applied, no structural alteration is noted regarding the composition of the EPS.

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The authors express their sincere thanks to CONACYT for the financial support for this work [SEP-CONACYT-CB-2014-01-239622 Grant], and to IPICYT for the use of facilities. Special gratitude is expressed to M.Sc. Dulce Partida and M.Sc. Guillermo Vidriales for their technical assistance.

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Correspondence to Sonia Arriaga.

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Responsible editor: Gerald Thouand

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Covarrubias-García, I., Aizpuru, A. & Arriaga, S. Temporal and longitudinal biofilm matrix analysis of a biofilter treating ethyl acetate during ozonation. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 19155–19166 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-2084-1

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  • Extracellular polymeric substances
  • Ozone
  • Biomass composition
  • Ethyl acetate
  • Biofiltration
  • Longitudinal behavior