Effects of ozone treatment on performance and microbial community composition in biofiltration systems treating ethyl acetate vapours
Abstract Ozone (O3) treatment is an effective strategy in maintaining high efficiency and control of biomass accumulation in gas phase biofiltration. However, little is known about the long-term impact of O3 on the microbial communities. In the present study, two biofilters treating gaseous ethyl acetate were operated continuously for 230 days with inlet loads up to 180 g m−3∙h−1. A biofilter operated under continuous O3 addition (90 ppbv) yielded consistently higher removal efficiency (RE) and elimination capacity (EC) compared to the control system. After 120 days of operation, a lower biomass content accompanied by a pH of 1.5 was observed in the ozonated biofilter, which was 2 units lower compared to the control reactor. Both reactors developed a distinct microbial community composition over the course of 230 days. The bacterial community was dominated in both biofilters by Beijerinckia and Gluconacetobacter, while Rhinocladiella similis, Trichosporon veenhuissi and Exophilia oligosperma were abundant in the fungal community. These findings suggest that ozonation of the biofiltration systems not only reduced clogging, but also contributed to the selection of biomass suitable for degradation of ethyl acetate.