The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of different nutrient (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen) concentrations on the microbial activity and community structure in membrane-aerated biofilms (MABs). MABs were grown under well-defined conditions of fluid flow, substrate concentration, and membrane oxygen partial pressure. Biofilms were then removed and thin-sliced using a cryostat/microtome parallel to the membrane. Individual slices were analyzed for changes with depth in biomass density, respiratory activity, and the population densities of ammonia-oxidizing and denitrifying bacteria populations. Oxygen-sensing microelectrodes were used to determine the depth of oxygen penetration into each biofilm. Our results demonstrated that ammonia-oxidizing bacteria grow near the membrane, while denitrifying bacteria grow a substantial distance from the membrane. However, nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria did not grow simultaneously when organic concentrations became too high or ammonia concentrations became too low. In conclusion, membrane-aerated biofilms exhibit substantial stratification with respect to community structure and activity. A fundamental understanding of the factors that control this stratification will help optimize the performance of full-scale membrane-aerated biofilm reactors for wastewater treatment.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology|
|State||Published - Apr 1 2006|
- Hybrid bioreactor
- Membrane aeration
- Nutrient removal