Treatment of oil sands process-affected water using moving bed biofilm reactors: With and without ozone pretreatment

Yijing Shi, Chunkai Huang, Ketley Costa Rocha, Mohamed Gamal El-Din, Yang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Two moving bed biofilm reactors (MBBRs) were operated to treat raw (untreated) and 30. mg/L ozone-treated oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). After 210. days, the MBBR process showed 18.3% of acid-extractable fraction (AEF) and 34.8% of naphthenic acids (NAs) removal, while the ozonation combined MBBR process showed higher removal of AEF (41.0%) and NAs (78.8%). Biodegradation of raw and ozone treated OSPW showed similar performance. UPLC/HRMS analysis showed a highest NAs removal efficiency with a carbon number of 14 and a -. Z number of 4. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) showed thicker biofilms in the raw OSPW MBBR (97. ±. 5. μm) than in the ozonated OSPW MBBR (71. ±. 12. μm). Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (. q-PCR) results showed higher abundance of gene copies of total bacteria and nitrogen removal relevant bacteria in the ozonated OSPW MBBR, but no significant difference was found. MiSeq sequencing showed Proteobacteria, Nitrospirae, and Acidobacteria were dominant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-227
Number of pages9
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr. Liu acknowledges financial support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Napier-Reid Ltd. , Shell Canada , and the Helmholtz Alberta Initiative (HAI). Dr. Gamal El-Din acknowledges financial support from an NSERC Senior Industrial Research Chair supported by Syncrude Canada Ltd. , Suncor Energy Inc. , Shell Canada , Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. , Total E&P Canada Ltd. , EPCOR Water Services , IOWC Technologies Inc. , Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions , and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Biofilm
  • Microbial community
  • Moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR)
  • Oil sands process-affected water (OSPW)
  • Ozonation


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