ABSTRACT A laboratory scale aerobic fixed film bioreactor packed with glass beads for biofilm growth was used to evaluate the removal efficiencies of COD and phenol for a carbohydrate—phenol mixture in wastewater. It was done by an indigenous mixed culture inoculums developed after collecting sludge from a return line of an activated sludge plant. The test result on continuous flow in the above biofilm reactor indicated an optimum hydraulic loading range of 4-6.4 m3day-1m-2 for attainment of reasonable amount of COD removal in case of carbohydrate substrate only. The COD removal efficiency, however, gradually depleted from 100% to 54% by gradual increase in organic loading (OLR) from 0.72-4.32 kgday-1m-3, beyond which removal was not significant. For the identical loading conditions, in presence of phenol in the substrate along with carbohydrate, the COD removal was observed varying from 100-40% in the above organic loading range. The COD removal kinetics in presence of phenol also shows a decreasing trend compared to data obtained without the presence of phenol in wastewater that reveals biological inhibition. The experimental data were fitted in a simple plug flow model for evaluating the zero order, first order and Monod form of rate equations to evaluate the kinetics. It was found that Monod type rate equations combining a zero and first order rate expression is the best fit for the above hydraulic and organic loading that gives a best fit half velocity constant value of 35 mgL-1 (R2 = 0.9612).
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