Predictive model for toluene degradation and microbial phenotypic profiles in flat plate vapor phase bioreactor


A predictive model has been developed to describe degradation of toluene in a flat-plate vapor phase bioreactor (VPBR). The VPBR model incorporates kinetic, stoichiometric, injury, and irreversible loss coefficients from suspended culture studies for toluene degradation by P. putida 54G and measured values of Henry's law constant and boundary layer thickness at the gas-liquid and liquid-biofilm interface. The model is used to estimate the performance of the reactor with respect to toluene degradation and to predict profiles of toluene concentration and bacterial physiological state within the biofilm. These results have been compared with experimentally determined values from a flat plate VPBR under electron acceptor and electron donor limiting conditions. The model accurately predicts toluene concentrations in the vapor phase and toluene degradation rate by adjusting only three parameters: biomass density and rates of death and endogenous decay. Qualitatively, the model also predicts gradients in the physiological state cells in the biofilm. This model provides a rational design for predicting an upper limit of toluene degradation capability in a VPBR and is currently being tested to assess applications for predicting performance of bench and pilot-scale column reactors.




Mirpuri, R., W. Sharp, S. Villaverde, W. Jones, Z. Lewandowski, and A. Cunningham, “Predictive Model for Toluene Degradation and Microbial Phenotypic Profiles in Flat Plate Vapor Phase Bioreactor,” Journal of Environmental Engineering, June 1997, 586-592 (1997).
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