Effect of changing VOC influent composition on the microbial community structure of TBABs

Zhangli Cai, George A. Sorial, Kai Zhang, Pascal Saikaly, Maher M. Zein, Daniel B. Oerther

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Microbial communities in trickle bed air biofilters (TBABs) were evaluated under conditions of interchanging the feed volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and VOC mixtures. Three independent TBABs (Biofilter "A," "B," and "C") were run under interchanging VOCs conditions with different initial VOCs. Two aromatic compounds (toluene and styrene) and two oxygenated compounds (methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) and methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK)) were interchanged as single solutes. Two other TBABs "D" and "E" were run for two VOC mixtures. Biofilter "D" had a VOC mixture with equal molar ratio of the four components and Biofilter "E" received a VOC mixture with its composition based on EPA 2003 emission report. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis of 16S rRNA genes was used to assess the microbial richness in TBABs for treating the VOC mixtures and the impact of interchanging VOCs on the bacterial community structure in the biofilters. The results from DGGE indicated that the microbial community structure in the biofilter was different after each interchange of VOCs. Some bands of microbial species faded and some bands were strengthened. For the two TBABs treating VOC mixtures, the microbial species did not show significant difference, but the richness among these species was different from each other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-321
Number of pages11
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution: Focus
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • 16S rRNA
  • Biofiltration
  • DGGE
  • Trickle bed air biofilter
  • VOCs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Pollution
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of changing VOC influent composition on the microbial community structure of TBABs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this