Novel membrane bioreactor: Able to cope with fluctuating loads, poorly water soluble VOCs, and biomass accumulation

Studer, Michael Hans-Peter; Rudolf von Rohr, Philipp (2007). Novel membrane bioreactor: Able to cope with fluctuating loads, poorly water soluble VOCs, and biomass accumulation Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 99(1), pp. 38-48. John Wiley & Sons 10.1002/bit.21532

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Biological waste gas treatment is an attractive method for controlling air emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Microorganisms degrade the VOCs to harmless products such as carbon dioxide (CO(2)), biomass and water. In spite of the advantages, significant unresolved challenges remain for biological waste gas treatment. Fluctuating loads in waste gas streams, especially of VOCs with low water solubility, can often not be satisfactorily removed. Concentration peaks leave the reactor virtually untreated, while periods without VOCs in the waste gas lead to starvation of the bacteria. Furthermore, bioreactors are often subject to clogging due to biomass accumulation. In the current work, a flat sheet membrane bioreactor was developed which was able to buffer fluctuating loads of toluene, our model compound, by absorption in silicone oil prior to degradation and which continuously removed and discharged excess biomass from the reactor. The absorption and the biodegradation were both membrane based. An inverse bacterial biofilm developed on the membrane, which separated the culture medium from the absorbent. The culture medium was constantly passed along the biofilm, introducing shear stresses on the surface and thereby removing excess, inactive biomass. The toluene surface elimination capacity was virtually independent of the gas flow rate for the tested steady-state conditions and reached a maximum of 0.6 g m(-2) h(-1). Experiments with fluctuating inlet mass flow rates of toluene confirmed the excellent buffering capability of the set-up. The reactor was successfully operated for 162 days without clogging

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL > Resource-efficient agricultural production systems
School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL > Agriculture


Studer, Michael Hans-Peter0000-0003-1083-0967 and
Rudolf von Rohr, Philipp


Q Science > Q Science (General)




John Wiley & Sons




Michael Hans-Peter Studer

Date Deposited:

19 Feb 2020 15:58

Last Modified:

18 Dec 2020 13:29

Publisher DOI:


Additional Information:

Gemäss Verlagswebsite erschien der Artikel am: 1 January 2008 in der Zeitschrift Biotechnology and Bioengineering

Uncontrolled Keywords:

waste gas treatment; biofilm; buffering; toluene; pseudomonas putida; silicone oil




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