Operational and microbiological aspects of a bioaugmented two-stage biotrickling filter removing hydrogen sulfide and dimethyl sulfide

B. Sercu, D. Núñez, Herman Van Langenhove, G. Aroca, W. Verstraete

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119 Scopus citations


A two-stage biotrickling filter was developed for removing dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S). The first biotrickling filter (ABF) was inoculated with Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans and operated without pH control, while the second biotrickling filter (HBF) was inoculated with Hyphomicrobium VS and operated at neutral pH. High DMS elimination capacities were observed in the HBF (8.2 g DMS m-3 h-1 at 90% removal efficiency) after 2 days. Maximal observed elimination capacities were 83 g H2S m-3 h-1 (100% removal efficiency) and 58 g DMS m-3 h-1 (88% removal efficiency) for the ABF and the HBF, respectively. The influence of a decreasing empty bed residence time (120 down to 30 sec) and the robustness of the HBF towards changing operational parameters (low pH, starvation, and DMS and H2S peak loadings) were investigated. Suboptimal operational conditions rapidly resulted in lower DMS removal efficiencies, but recovery of the HBF was mostly obtained within a few days. The H2S removal efficiency in the ABF, however, was not influenced by varying operational conditions. In both reactors, microbial community dynamics of the biofilm and the suspended bacteria were investigated, using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). After a period of gradual change, a stable microbial community was observed in the HBF after 60 days, although Hyphomicrobium VS was not the dominant microorganism. In contrast, the ABF biofilm community was stable from the first day and only a limited bacterial diversity was observed. The planktonic microbial community in the HBF was very different from that in the biofilm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-269
Number of pages11
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - 20 Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Biotrickling filter
  • Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis
  • Dimethyl sulfide
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Inoculation


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