Camacho, Julianna G. (2010-07). Kinetics of Anionic Surfactant Anoxic Degradation. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • The biodegradation kinetics of Geropon TC-42 (trademark) by an acclimated culture was investigated in anoxic batch reactors to determine biokinetic coefficients to be implemented in two biofilm mathematical models. Geropon TC-42 (trademark) is the surfactant commonly used in space habitation. The two biofilm models differ in that one assumes a constant biofilm density and the other allows biofilm density changes based on space occupancy theory. Extant kinetic analysis of a mixed microbial culture using Geropon TC-42 (trademark) as sole carbon source was used to determine cell yield, specific growth rate, and the half-saturation constant for S0/X0 ratios of 4, 12.5, and 34.5. To estimate cell yield, linear regression analysis was performed on data obtained from three sets of simultaneous batch experiments for three S0/X0 ratios. The regressions showed non-zero intercepts, suggesting that cell multiplication is not possible at low substrate concentrations. Non-linear least-squares analysis of the integrated equation was used to estimate the specific growth rate and the half-saturation constant. Net specific growth rate dependence on substrate concentration indicates a self-inhibitory effect of Geropon TC-42 (trademark). The flow rate and the ratio of the concentrations of surfactant to nitrate were the factors that most affected the simulations. Higher flow rates resulted in a shorter hydraulic retention time, shorter startup periods, and faster approach to a steady-state biofilm. At steady-state, higher flow resulted in lower surfactant removal. Higher influent surfactant/nitrate concentration ratios caused a longer startup period, supported more surfactant utilization, and biofilm growth. Both models correlate to the empirical data. A model assuming constant biofilm density is computationally simpler and easier to implement. Therefore, a suitable anoxic packed bed reactor for the removal of the surfactant Geropon TC-42 (trademark) can be designed by using the estimated kinetic values and a model assuming constant biofilm density.

publication date

  • May 2010