Anoxic denitrification of BTEX: Biodegradation kinetics and pollutant interactions

Carvajal A., Akmirza I., Navia D., Perez R., Munoz R., Lebrero R.

JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, vol.214, pp.125-136, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Anoxic mineralization of BTEX represents a promising alternative for their abatement from O-2-deprived emissions. However, the kinetics of anoxic BTEX biodegradation and the interactions underlying the treatment of BTEX mixtures are still unknown. An activated sludge inoculum was used for the anoxic abatement of single, dual and quaternary BTEX mixtures, being acclimated prior performing the biodegradation kinetic tests. The Monod model and a Modified Gompertz model were then used for the estimation of the biodegradation kinetic parameters. Results showed that both toluene and ethylbenzene are readily biodegradable under anoxic conditions, whereas the accumulation of toxic metabolites resulted in partial xylene and benzene degradation when present both as single components or in mixtures. Moreover, the supplementation of an additional pollutant always resulted in an inhibitory competition, with xylene inducing the highest degree of inhibition. The Modified Gompertz model provided an accurate fitting for the experimental data for single and dual substrate experiments, satisfactorily representing the antagonistic pollutant interactions. Finally, microbial analysis suggested that the degradation of the most biodegradable compounds required a lower microbial specialization and diversity, while the presence of the recalcitrant compounds resulted in the selection of a specific group of microorganisms. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.