The Kinetics, Biochemical Patterns, and Microbial Ecology in Multiredox (Anoxic, Microaerobic, Aerobic) Activated Sludge Systems Treating BTX Containing Wastewater
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BTX biodegradation rates, biochemical expression patterns and microbial ecology were studied under anoxic (denitrifying), anoxic/microaerobic/aerobic, and anoxic/microaerobic conditions in activated sludge sequencing batch reactors. The studies showed that toluene and m-xylene were denitrified via benzoyl-CoA reductase. Although benzene, o-, and p-xylene were recalcitrant under denitrifying conditions, they were biodegraded under microaerobic (< 0.2 mg/L dissolved oxygen) and nitrate or nitrite (NOx)-supplemented microaerobic conditions. The patterns of the specific enzymes associated with BTX biodegradation under microaerobic conditions indicated that the three compounds were metabolized by oxygen-dependent pathways. The expression levels of catechol 1, 2-dioxygenase and catechol 2, 3-dioxygenase under microaerobic conditions were induced to levels as high as under aerobic conditions (> 4 mg/L dissolved oxygen). Benzene, o-, and p-xylene biodegradation rates were twice as fast under NOx-supplemented compared to NOx-free microaerobic conditions, and the specific biodegradation rates under aerobic and NOx-supplemented microaerobic conditions were comparable. 16S rRNA probes targeting representative toluene-degraders were used to investigate the microbial communities in the three sequencing batch reactors by using a dot blot hybridization technique. The hybridization results suggest that multiple redox environments fostered a more diverse microbial community and the activities of the target organisms in the reactors with multiple redox environments were higher than in the single redox reactor. Additionally, facultative toluene-degraders appeared to play a less significant role than the strict anoxic and aerobic toluene-degraders in all three SBRs.
- Doctoral Dissertations