Immobilized-cell membrane bioreactor for high-strength phenol wastewater

Kai Chee Loh*, Tai Shung Chung, Wei Fern Ang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


An immobilized-cell membrane bioreactor was fabricated to investigate degradation of phenol at high concentrations using Pseudomonas putida American Type Culture Collection 49451. In the case of suspension cultures, P. putida utilized phenol at concentrations below 1,000 mg/L, but experienced substrate inhibition at higher concentrations. On the other hand, cells immobilized in 25% by weight polysulfone fibers degraded phenol at concentrations above 1,000 mg/L. At an initial phenol concentration of 1,200 mg/L, phenol was fully degraded within 95 h in the immobilized system, whereas no cell growth and phenol degradation were observed in the free suspension system at 1,000 mg/L phenol. In the immobilized system, it was observed that cells diffused from the membranes when phenol concentrations reached noninhibitory levels in a few experiments. In such cases, the time taken for complete degradation was shorter with cell diffusion because suspension cells were responsible for the rapid phenol degradation. Further biodegradation studies at phenol concentrations of 2,000 and 3,500 mg/L were also performed to evaluate the effectiveness of cell immobilization for delaying the effects of substrate inhibition. Phenol could be completely degraded at both high concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-79
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • General Environmental Science


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