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Developing a Biofilm of Sulfur Oxidizing Bacteria, Starting-up and Operating a Bioscrubber Treating H2S

Author(s): Gholamreza Moussavi | Kazem Naddafi | Alireza Mesdaghinia

Journal: Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences
ISSN 1028-8880

Volume: 10;
Issue: 5;
Start page: 701;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: Biotechnology | bioscrubber | biofilm | sulfur-oxidizing bacteria | hydrogen sulfide

Development of an acclimatized SOB biofilm, startup and performance of a fixed bed bioscrubber packed with corrugated tube parts as a media having high specific surface area was investigated. Bioscrubber was a cylindrical Plexiglas air-and water-tight column with 10 L in working bed volume. Sludge from a tannery wastewater treatment plant was used as a seed for SOB separation, acclimation and enrichment. Enriched acclimatized SOB were applied as inoculum for biofilm development, which was carried out by recirculating the prepared microbial suspension through the bed. Thickness of the developed biofilm was 56 μm in which active acidophilic autotrophic H2S oxidizing bacteria were completely predominated. Activity measurements showed highest biodegradation rate of biofilm at liquid pH around 3. Due to employing an efficient specialized biofilm, startup period of the reactor was quite short and H2S removal efficiency just 12 h after starting up reached above of 92% and increased to 96% at day 3 of starting up while inlet H2S concentration gradually was increased to around 30 ppm. At the end of start up pH of the recycle liquid was modified to the optimal value of 3±0.5 in which biofilm demonstrated the highest activity in terms of OUR after which removal efficiency increased around 3% while other operating conditions were consistent. Furthermore, performance of the bioscrubber was evaluated at various inlet H2S concentrations ranging from 30 to 150 ppmv. It was indicated that the inlet H2S concentrations in studied range did not affect the performance of the bioscrubber so that the removal efficiency of H2S was greater than 99.4% at all concentrations. These observations suggested that the development of an efficient specialized SOB biofilm on a media with high specific surface area will decrease the startup course and achieve high removal efficiency in the bioscrubber treating H2S. In addition, operation in acidic recycle liquid will overcome use of alkaline to adjust the pH, which reduce the operation cost of the control system.

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