Chemisorption of oxygen onto activated carbon can enhance the stability of biological perchlorate reduction in fixed bed biofilm reactors

Chul Choi Young, Xu Li, Lutgarde Raskin, Eberhard Morgenroth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Fixed bed biofilm reactors with granular activated carbon (GAC) or glass beads as support media were used to evaluate the influence of short-term (12 h) and long-term (23 days) increases of influent dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations on biological perchlorate removal. The goal was to evaluate the extent by which chemisorption of oxygen to GAC can enhance the stability of biological perchlorate reduction. Baseline influent concentrations were 50 mg/L of perchlorate, 2 mg/L of acetate as C, and 1 mg/L of DO. Perchlorate removal in the glass bead reactor seized immediately after increasing influent DO concentrations from 1 to 4 mg/L since glass beads have no sorptive capacity. In the biologically active carbon (BAC) reactor, chemisorption of oxygen to GAC removed a substantial fraction of the influent DO, and perchlorate removal was maintained during short-term increases of influent DO levels up to 8 mg/L. During long-term exposure to influent DO concentrations of 8.5 mg/L, effluent perchlorate and DO concentrations increased slowly. Subsequent exposure of the BAC reactor bed to low DO concentrations partially regenerated the capacity for oxygen chemisorption. Microbial analyses indicated similar microbial communities in both reactors, which confirmed that the differences in reactor performance during dynamic loading conditions could be attributed to the sorptive properties of GAC. Using a sorptive biofilm support medium can enhance biological perchlorate removal under dynamic loading conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3425-3434
Number of pages10
JournalWater Research
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Biofilm
  • Biologically active carbon
  • Chemisorption
  • Clone library
  • Granular activated carbon
  • Oxygen
  • Perchlorate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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