Bio-enhanced activated carbon filter with immobilized microorganisms for removing organic pollutants in the Songhua River

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Five dominant microorganisms including four kinds of Pseudomonas and one kind of Bacillus were isolated from the Songhua River. The organic pollutants removal potential and community composition of these five dominant microorganisms immobilized on activated carbon filter, which is called the bio-enhanced activated carbon filter (BEAC), were investigated to compare with the naturally formed biological activated carbon (BAC) filter. Songhua River was used as the raw water. The pilot scale test results showed the biomass in the BEAC filter increased initially and then stabilized after 45 d of operation with an average value of 192 nmolPO4/g carbon. The corresponding biological activity reached 1,368 ng ATP/g carbon. The gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) results showed that the BEAC filter degraded the toxic organic substances more effectively than the BAC filter, especially for halogenated hydrocarbons and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis revealed the eco-system of five dominant microorganisms did not change in the BEAC filter even on 180 d of operation. Two of the five dominant microorganisms, Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas balearica, had high biological activity and were more adaptable to the surface of the carbon media than the other three dominant microorganisms. The scanning electron microscope (SEM) photograph showed a large quantity of microorganisms developed on the BEAC filter. The toxicity test using Deltatox Bioassay Technology Analyzer indicated that the dominant microorganisms were safe to be applied in drinking water treatment process.

Keywords: bio-enhanced activated carbon (BEAC), biological activated carbon (BAC), biological activity, biomass, dominant microorganisms

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