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Transient-state biodegradation behavior of a horizontal biotrickling filter in co-treating gaseous H2S and NH3

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A horizontal biotrickling filter (HBTF) was used to inoculate autotrophic sulfide-oxidizing and ammonia-oxidizing microbial consortiums over H2S-exhausted carbon for co-treating H2S and NH3 waste gas in a long-term operation. In this study, several aspects (i.e., pH change, shock loading and starvation) of the dynamic behavior of the HBTF were investigated. The metabolic products of N and S bearing species in recycling liquid and biological activities of the biofilm were analyzed to explain the observed phenomena and further explore the fundamentals behind. In the pH range of 4–8.5, although the removal efficiencies of H2S and NH3 remained 96–98% and 100%, respectively, the metabolic products demonstrated different removal mechanisms and pathways. NH4-N and NO2/NO3-N were dominated at pH ≤6 and ≥7, respectively, indicating the differentiated contributions from physical/chemical adsorption and bio-oxidation. Moreover, the HBTF demonstrated a good dynamic stability to withstand shock loadings by recovering immediately to the original. During shock loading, only 15.4% and 17.9% of captured H2S and NH3 was biodegraded, respectively. After 2, 11, and 48 days of starvation, the HBTF system reached a full performance within reasonable re-startup times (2–80 h), possibly due to the consumption of reduced S and N species in biomass or activated carbon thus converted into SO4-S and NO3-N during starvation period. The results helped to understand the fundamental knowledge by revealing the effects of pH and transient loadings linked with individual removal mechanism for H2S and NH3 co-treatment in different conditions.

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Correspondence to Rong Yan.

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Jiang, X., Yan, R. & Tay, J.H. Transient-state biodegradation behavior of a horizontal biotrickling filter in co-treating gaseous H2S and NH3 . Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 81, 969–975 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-008-1759-9

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  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Ammonia
  • Biofiltration
  • pH
  • Transient loading