Matching Items (15)
- All Subjects: Environmental engineering
- Genre: Masters Thesis
- Creators: Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa
- Member of: ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations
- Member of: Theses and Dissertations
Coupling bioflocculation of Dehalococcoides to high-dechlorination rates for ex situ and in situ bioremediation
Bioremediation of trichloroethene (TCE) using Dehalococcoides mccartyi-containing microbial cultures is a recognized and successful remediation technology. Our work with an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor has shown that high-performance, fast-rate dechlorination of TCE can be achieved by promoting bioflocculation of Dehalococcoides mccartyi-containing cultures. The bioreactor achieved high maximum conversion rates of 1.63 ± 0.012 mmol Cl- Lculture-1 h-1 at an HRT of 3.6 hours and >97% dechlorination of TCE to ethene while continuously fed 2 mM TCE. The UASB generated bioflocs from a microbially heterogeneous dechlorinating culture and produced Dehalococcoides mccartyi densities of 1.73x10-13 cells Lculture-1 indicating that bioflocculation of Dehalococcoides mccartyi-containing cultures can lead to high density inocula and high-performance, fast-rate bioaugmentation culture for in situ treatment. The successful operation of our pilot scale bioreactor led to the assessment of the technology as an onsite ex-situ treatment system. The bioreactor was then fed TCE-contaminated groundwater from the Motorola Inc. 52nd Street Plant Superfund site in Phoenix, AZ augmented with the lactate and methanol. The bioreactor maintained >99% dechlorination of TCE to ethene during continuous operation at an HRT of 3.2 hours. Microbial community analysis under both experimental conditions reveals shifts in the community structure although maintaining high rate dechlorination. High density dechlorinating cultures containing bioflocs can provide new ways to 1) produce dense bioaugmentation cultures, 2) perform ex-situ bioremediation of TCE, and 3) increase our understanding of Dehalococcoides mccartyi critical microbial interactions that can be exploited at contaminated sites in order to improve long-term bioremediation schemes.
Trade-offs in utilizing of zero-valent iron for synergistic biotic and abiotic reduction of trichloroethene and perchlorate in soil and groundwater
The advantages and challenges of combining zero-valent iron (ZVI) and microbial reduction of trichloroethene (TCE) and perchlorate (ClO4-) in contaminated soil and groundwater are not well understood. The objective of this work was to identify the benefits and limitations of simultaneous application of ZVI and bioaugmentation for detoxification of TCE and ClO4- using conditions relevant to a specific contaminated site. We studied conditions representing a ZVI-injection zone and a downstream zone influenced Fe (II) produced, for simultaneous ZVI and microbial reductive dechlorination applications using bench scale semi-batch microcosm experiments. 16.5 g L-1 ZVI effectively reduced TCE to ethene and ethane but ClO4- was barely reduced. Microbial reductive dechlorination was limited by both ZVI as well as Fe (II) derived from oxidation of ZVI. In the case of TCE, rapid abiotic TCE reduction made the TCE unavailable for the dechlorinating bacteria. In the case of perchlorate, ZVI inhibited the indigenous perchlorate-reducing bacteria present in the soil and groundwater. Further, H2 generated by ZVI reactions stimulated competing microbial processes like sulfate reduction and methanogenesis. In the microcosms representing the ZVI downstream zone (Fe (II) only), we detected accumulation of cis-dichloroethene (cis-DCE) and vinyl chloride (VC) after 56 days. Some ethene also formed under these conditions. In the absence of ZVI or Fe (II), we detected complete TCE dechlorination to ethene and faster rates of ClO4- reduction. The results illustrate potential limitations of combining ZVI with microbial reduction of chlorinated compounds and show the potential that each technology has when applied separately.
Fate and biological effects of engineered nanomaterials during simulated wastewater treatment processes
As engineered nanomaterials (NMs) become used in industry and commerce their loading to sewage will increase. However, the fate of widely used NMs in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) remains poorly understood. In this research, sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) were operated with hydraulic (HRT) and sludge (SRT) retention times representative of full-scale biological WWTPs for several weeks. NM loadings at the higher range of expected environmental concentrations were selected. To achieve the pseudo-equilibrium state concentration of NMs in biomass, SBR experiments needed to operate for more than three times the SRT value, approximately 18 days. Under the conditions tested, NMs had negligible effects on ability of the wastewater bacteria to biodegrade organic material, as measured by chemical oxygen demand (COD). NM mass balance closure was achieved by measuring NMs in liquid effluent and waste biosolids. All NMs were well removed at the typical biomass concentration (1~2 gSS/L). However, carboxy-terminated polymer coated silver nanoparticles (fn-Ag) were removed less effectively (88% removal) than hydroxylated fullerenes (fullerols; >90% removal), nano TiO2 (>95% removal) or aqueous fullerenes (nC60; >95% removal). Although most NMs did not settle out of the feed solution without bacteria present, approximately 65% of the titanium dioxide was removed even in the absence of biomass simply due to self-aggregation and settling. Experiments conducted over 4 months with daily loadings of nC60 showed that nC60 removal from solution depends on the biomass concentration. Under conditions representative of most suspended growth biological WWTPs (e.g., activated sludge), most of the NMs will accumulate in biosolids rather than in liquid effluent discharged to surface waters. Significant fractions of fn-Ag were associated with colloidal material which suggests that efficient particle separation processes (sedimentation or filtration) could further improve removal of NM from effluent. As most NMs appear to accumulate in biosolids, future research should examine the fate of NMs during disposal of WWTP biosolids, which may occur through composting or anaerobic digestion and/or land application, incineration, or landfill disposal.
Electrochemical charaterization of anode-respiring geobacter sulfurreducens and geoalkalibacter subterraneus
To further the efforts producing energy from more renewable sources, microbial electrochemical cells (MXCs) can utilize anode respiring bacteria (ARB) to couple the oxidation of an organic substrate to the delivery of electrons to the anode. Although ARB such as Geobacter and Shewanella have been well-studied in terms of their microbiology and electrochemistry, much is still unknown about the mechanism of electron transfer to the anode. To this end, this thesis seeks to elucidate the complexities of electron transfer existing in Geobacter sulfurreducens biofilms by employing Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) as the tool of choice. Experiments measuring EIS resistances as a function of growth were used to uncover the potential gradients that emerge in biofilms as they grow and become thicker. While a better understanding of this model ARB is sought, electrochemical characterization of a halophile, Geoalkalibacter subterraneus (Glk. subterraneus), revealed that this organism can function as an ARB and produce seemingly high current densities while consuming different organic substrates, including acetate, butyrate, and glycerol. The importance of identifying and studying novel ARB for broader MXC applications was stressed in this thesis as a potential avenue for tackling some of human energy problems.
The Siemens hybrid process: mathematical modeling and analysis of an innovative and sustainable pilot wastewater treatment process
To address sustainability issues in wastewater treatment (WWT), Siemens Water Technologies (SWT) has designed a "hybrid" process that couples common activated sludge (AS) and anaerobic digestion (AD) technologies with the novel concepts of AD sludge recycle and biosorption. At least 85% of the hybrid's AD sludge is recycled to the AS process, providing additional sorbent for influent particulate chemical oxygen demand (PCOD) biosorption in contact tanks. Biosorbed PCOD is transported to the AD, where it is converted to methane. The aim of this study is to provide mass balance and microbial community analysis (MCA) of SWT's two hybrid and one conventional pilot plant trains and mathematical modeling of the hybrid process including a novel model of biosorption. A detailed mass balance was performed on each tank and the overall system. The mass balance data supports the hybrid process is more sustainable: It produces 1.5 to 5.5x more methane and 50 to 83% less sludge than the conventional train. The hybrid's superior performance is driven by 4 to 8 times longer solid retention times (SRTs) as compared to conventional trains. However, the conversion of influent COD to methane was low at 15 to 22%, and neither train exhibited significant nitrification or denitrification. Data were inconclusive as to the role of biosorption in the processes. MCA indicated the presence of Archaea and nitrifiers throughout both systems. However, it is inconclusive as to how active Archaea and nitrifiers are under anoxic, aerobic, and anaerobic conditions. Mathematical modeling confirms the hybrid process produces 4 to 20 times more methane and 20 to 83% less sludge than the conventional train under various operating conditions. Neither process removes more than 25% of the influent nitrogen or converts more that 13% to nitrogen gas due to biomass washout in the contact tank and short SRTs in the stabilization tank. In addition, a mathematical relationship was developed to describe PCOD biosorption through adsorption to biomass and floc entrapment. Ultimately, process performance is more heavily influenced by the higher AD SRTs attained when sludge is recycled through the system and less influenced by the inclusion of biosorption kinetics.
Exploring additional dehalogenation abilities of DehaloR̂2, a previously characterized, trichloroethene-degrading microbial consortium
DehaloR^2 is a previously characterized, trichloroethene (TCE)-dechlorinating culture and contains bacteria from the known dechlorinating genus, Dehalococcoides. DehaloR^2 was exposed to three anthropogenic contaminants, Triclocarban (TCC), tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP), and 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA) and two biogenic-like halogenated compounds, 2,6-dibromophenol (2,6-DBP) and 2,6-dichlorophenol (2,6-DCP). The effects on TCE dechlorination ability due to 2,6-DBP and 2,6-DCP exposures were also investigated. DehaloR^2 did not dechlorinate TCC or TCEP. After initial exposure to TCA, half of the initial TCA was dechlorinated to 1,1-dichloroethane (DCA), however half of the TCA remained by day 100. Subsequent TCA and TCE re-exposure showed no reductive dechlorination activity for both TCA and TCE by 120 days after the re-exposure. It has been hypothesized that the microbial TCE-dechlorinating ability was developed before TCE became abundant in groundwater. This dechlorinating ability would have existed in the microbial metabolism due to previous exposure to biogenic halogenated compounds. After observing the inability of DehaloR^2 to dechlorinate other anthropogenic compounds, DehaloR^2 was then exposed to two naturally occurring halogenated phenols, 2,6-DBP and 2,6-DCP, in the presence and absence of TCE. DehaloR^2 debrominated 2,6-DBP through the intermediate 2-bromophenol (2-BP) to the end product phenol faster in the presence of TCE. DehaloR^2 dechlorinated 2,6-DCP to 2-CP in the absence of TCE; however, 2,6-DCP dechlorination was incomplete in the presence of TCE. Additionally, when 2,6-DBP was present, complete TCE dechlorination to ethene occurred more quickly than when TCE was present without 2,6-DBP. However, when 2,6-DCP was present, TCE dechlorination to ethene had not completed by day 55. The increased dehalogenation rate of 2,6-DBP and TCE when present together compared to conditions containing only 2,6-DBP or only TCE suggests a possible synergistic relationship between 2,6-DBP and TCE, while the decreased dechlorination rate of 2,6-DCP and TCE when present together compared to conditions containing only 2,6-DCP or only TCE suggests an inhibitory effect.
Intimate coupling of Ti2 photocatalysis and biodegradation (ICPB) offers potential for degrading biorecalcitrant and toxic organic compounds much better than possible with conventional wastewater treatments. This study reports on using a novel sponge-type, Ti2-coated biofilm carrier that shows significant adherence of Ti2 to its exterior and the ability to accumulate biomass in its interior (protected from UV light and free radicals). First, this carrier was tested for ICPB in a continuous-flow photocatalytic circulating-bed biofilm reactor (PCBBR) to mineralize biorecalcitrant organic: 2,4,5-trichlorophenol (TCP). Four mechanisms possibly acting of ICPB were tested separately: TCP adsorption, UV photolysis/photocatalysis, and biodegradation. The carrier exhibited strong TCP adsorption, while photolysis was negligible. Photocatalysis produced TCP-degradation products that could be mineralized and the strong adsorption of TCP to the carrier enhanced biodegradation by relieving toxicity. Validating the ICPB concept, biofilm was protected inside the carriers from UV light and free radicals. ICPB significantly lowered the diversity of the bacterial community, but five genera known to biodegrade chlorinated phenols were markedly enriched. Secondly, decolorization and mineralization of reactive dyes by ICPB were investigated on a refined Ti2-coated biofilm carrier in a PCBBR. Two typical reactive dyes: Reactive Black 5 (RB5) and Reactive Yellow 86 (RY86), showed similar first-order kinetics when being photocatalytically decolorized at low pH (~4-5), which was inhibited at neutral pH in the presence of phosphate or carbonate buffer, presumably due to electrostatic repulsion from negatively charged surface sites on Ti2, radical scavenging by phosphate or carbonate, or both. In the PCBBR, photocatalysis alone with Ti2-coated carriers could remove RB5 and COD by 97% and 47%, respectively. Addition of biofilm inside macroporous carriers maintained a similar RB5 removal efficiency, but COD removal increased to 65%, which is evidence of ICPB despite the low pH. A proposed ICPB pathway for RB5 suggests that a major intermediate, a naphthol derivative, was responsible for most of the residual COD. Finally, three low-temperature sintering methods, called O, D and DN, were compared based on photocatalytic efficiency and Ti2 adherence. The DN method had the best Ti2-coating properties and was a successful carrier for ICPB of RB5 in a PCBBR.
Large-scale cultivation of photosynthetic microorganisms for the production of biodiesel and other valuable commodities must be made more efficient. Recycling the water and nutrients acquired from biomass harvesting promotes a more sustainable and economically viable enterprise. This study reports on growing the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 using permeate obtained from concentrating the biomass by cross-flow membrane filtration. I used a kinetic model based on the available light intensity (LI) to predict biomass productivity and evaluate overall performance.
During the initial phase of the study, I integrated a membrane filter with a bench-top photobioreactor (PBR) and created a continuously operating system. Recycling permeate reduced the amount of fresh medium delivered to the PBR by 45%. Biomass production rates as high as 400 mg-DW/L/d (9.2 g-DW/m2/d) were sustained under constant lighting over a 12-day period.
In the next phase, I operated the system as a sequencing batch reactor (SBR), which improved control over nutrient delivery and increased the concentration factor of filtered biomass (from 1.8 to 6.8). I developed unique system parameters to compute the amount of recycled permeate in the reactor and the actual hydraulic retention time during SBR operation. The amount of medium delivered to the system was reduced by up to 80%, and growth rates were consistent at variable amounts of repeatedly recycled permeate. The light-based model accurately predicted growth when biofilm was not present. Coupled with mass ratios for PCC 6803, these predictions facilitated efficient delivery of nitrogen and phosphorus. Daily biomass production rates and specific growth rates equal to 360 mg-DW/L/d (8.3 g/m2/d) and 1.0 d-1, respectively, were consistently achieved at a relatively low incident LI (180 µE/m2/s). Higher productivities (up to 550 mg-DW/L/d) occurred under increased LI (725 µE/m2/s), although the onset of biofilm impeded modeled performance.
Permeate did not cause any gradual growth inhibition. Repeated results showed cultures rapidly entered a stressed state, which was followed by widespread cell lysis. This phenomenon occurred independently of permeate recycling and was not caused by nutrient starvation. It may best be explained by negative allelopathic effects or viral infection as a result of mixed culture conditions.
This study reports on benzene and toluene biodegradation under different dissolved oxygen conditions, and the goal of this study is to evaluate and model their removal.
Benzene and toluene were tested for obligate anaerobic degradation in batch reactors with sulfate as the electron acceptor. A group of sulfate-reducing bacteria capable of toluene degradation was enriched after 252 days of incubation. Those cultures, originated from anaerobic digester, were able to degrade toluene coupled to sulfate reduction with benzene coexistence, while they were not able to utilize benzene. Methanogens also were present, although their contribution to toluene biodegradation was not defined.
Aerobic biodegradation of benzene and toluene by Pseudomonas putida F1 occurred, and biomass production lagged behind substrate loss and continued after complete substrate removal. This pattern suggests that biodegradation of intermediates, rather than direct benzene and toluene transformation, caused bacterial growth. Supporting this explanation is that the calculated biomass growth from a two-step model basically fit the experimental biomass results during benzene and toluene degradation with depleted dissolved oxygen.
Catechol was tested for anaerobic biodegradation in batch experiments and in a column study. Sulfate- and nitrate-reducing bacteria enriched from a wastewater treatment plant hardly degraded catechol within 20 days. However, an inoculum from a contaminated site was able to remove 90% of the initial 16.5 mg/L catechol, and Chemical Oxygen Demand was oxidized in parallel. Catechol biodegradation was inhibited when nitrite accumulated, presumably by a toxic catechol-nitrite complex.
The membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR) offers the potential for biodegrading benzene in a linked aerobic and anaerobic pathway by controlling the O2 delivery. At an average benzene surface loading of 1.3 g/m2-day and an average hydraulic retention time of 2.2 day, an MBfR supplied with pure O2 successfully achieved 99% benzene removal at steady state. A lower oxygen partial pressure led to decreased benzene removal, and nitrate removal increased, indicating multiple mechanisms, including oxygenation and nitrate reduction, were involved in the system being responsible for benzene removal. Microbial community analysis indicated that Comamonadaceae, a known aerobic benzene-degrader and denitrifier, dominated the biofilm at the end of operation.
Nitrate, a widespread contaminant in surface water, can cause eutrophication and toxicity to aquatic organisms. To augment the nitrate-removal capacity of constructed wetlands, I applied the H2-based Membrane Biofilm Reactor (MBfR) in a novel configuration called the in situ MBfR (isMBfR). The goal of my thesis is to evaluate and model the nitrate removal performance for a bench-scale isMBfR system.
I operated the bench-scale isMBfR system in 7 different conditions to evaluate its nitrate-removal performance. When I supplied H2 with the isMBfR (stages 1 - 6), I observed at least 70% nitrate removal, and almost all of the denitrification occurred in the "MBfR zone." When I stopped the H2 supply in stage 7, the nitrate-removal percentage immediately dropped from 92% (stage 6) to 11% (stage 7). Denitrification raised the pH of the bulk liquid to ~ 9.0 for the first 6 stages, but the high pH did not impair the performance of the denitrifiers. Microbial community analyses indicated that DB were the dominant bacteria in the "MBfR zone," while photosynthetic Cyanobacteria were dominant in the "photo-zone".
I derived stoichiometric relationships among COD, alkalinity, H2, Dissolved Oxygen (DO), and nitrate to model the nitrate removal capacity of the "MBfR zone." The stoichiometric relationships corresponded well to the nitrate-removal capacity for all stages expect stage 3, which was limited by the abundance of Denitrifying Bacteria (DB) so that the H2 supply capacity could not be completely used.
Finally, I analyzed two case studies for the real-world application of the isMBfR to constructed wetlands. Based on the characteristics for the wetlands and the stoichiometric relationships, I designed a feasible operation condition (membrane area and H2 pressure) for each wetland. In both cases, the amount of isMBfR surface area was modest, from 0.022 to 1.2 m2/m3 of wetland volume.