Effects of cross-substrate interaction on biotrickling filtration for the control of VOC emissions. Academic Article uri icon


  • The effects of cross-substrate interaction to the performance of a gas-phase biotrickling filter for treating a mixture of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including three structural heterologous in acetone, toluene, and trichloroethylene, were investigated. The biotrickling filter was inoculated with microbial consortium containing at least seven bacterial species utilizing either acetone or toluene, or both, as their carbon sources. In the performance study, the column operating under variable conditions typifying the waste gas emission from the microelectronics fabrication processes achieved a total hydrocarbon (THC) removal efficiency in excess of 85% and a mineralization capacity over 50% for THC mass loading as high as 36.2 g-CH4 m-3h-1. The cross-substrate effects were examined by correlating the relative changes in the mass removal of each substrate with the biodegradative capability of the microbial consortium. The degradation of trichloroethylene was primarily due to co-metabolism by the toluene-oxidizing enzymes, but the results also indicated that trichloroethylene partially induced its own degradation. Concentration increases in acetone appeared to cause a diauxie effect that suppressed degradation of toluene and trichloroethylene, and shifted the microbial population toward the selective acetone-degraders. No irrecoverable toxicity or inhibitory effects were observed throughout the experiments. These results suggest that the relative VOC concentration in the waste gas mixture is a factor as important as the biodegradative function of the microbial consortium, and thus should be carefully evaluated to satisfy the treatment objectives.

published proceedings

  • Chemosphere

author list (cited authors)

  • Den, W., Huang, C., & Li, C.

complete list of authors

  • Den, Walter||Huang, Chihpin||Li, Chi-Han

publication date

  • November 2004