Thermophilic biofiltration of methanol and α-pinene

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Biofiltration systems utilizing thermophilic (55°C) bacteria were constructed and tested for the removal of methanol and α-pinene - two important volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the forest products industry. Thermophilic bacterial mixtures that can degrade both methanol and α-pinene were obtained via enrichment techniques. Two bench-scale thermophilic biofiltration systems (1085 and 1824 cm3) were used to examine compound removals at different residence times, with influent concentrations of 110 ppmv methanol and 15 ppmv α-pinene. At a residence time of 10.85 min, the smaller system had removal efficiencies of > 98% for methanol, but only 23% for α-pinene. The larger system was operated with the same parameters to evaluate residence time and surfactant effects on compound removals. At a residence time of 18.24 min, both methanol and α-pinene removal rates were ≥95%. However, αpinene removal dropped to 26% at a residence time of 6.08 min; methanol removal was not affected. Subsequent addition of a surfactant mixture increased α-pinene removal to 94% at the shortest residence time. No residual α-pinene was detected with the support medium Celite R-635, indicating that the surfactant may increase mass transfer of α-pinene.

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Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology