Gas-phase degradation of VOCs using supported bacteria biofilms

Chao Xu, Benjamin D Frigo Vaz, Joshua Goering, Ping Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Herein we report the use of Pseudomonas putida F1 biofilms grown on carbonized cellulosic fibers to achieve biodegradation of airborne volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the absence of any bulk aqueous-phase media. It is believed that direct exposure of gaseous VOC substrates to biomass may eliminate aqueous-phase mass transfer resistance and facilitate VOC capture and degradation. When tested with toluene vapor as a model VOC, the supported biofilm could grow optimally at 300 p.p.m. toluene and 80% relative humidity, with a specific growth rate of 0.425 day−1. During long-term VOC biodegradation tests in a tubular packed bed reactor, biofilms achieved a toluene degradation rate of 2.5 mg gDCW−1 h−1 during the initial growth phase. Interestingly, the P. putida F1 film kept biodegrading activity even at the stationary nongrowth phase. The supported biofilms with a biomass loading of 20% (wt) could degrade toluene at a rate of 1.9 mg gDCW−1 h−1 during the stationary phase, releasing CO2 at a rate of 6.4 mg gDCW−1 h−1 at the same time (indicating 100% conversion of substrate carbon to CO2). All of these observations promised a new type of “dry” biofilm reactors for efficient degradation of toxic VOCs without involving a large amount of water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBiotechnology and bioengineering
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Biotechnology and Bioengineering published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


  • air cleanup
  • biofilms
  • nonaqueous phase biotransformation
  • packed bed bioreactor
  • VOCs

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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