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The UC Riverside researchers packed polyurethane foam cubes inoculated with hydrogen sulfide-degrading bacteria into the Orange County Sanitation District chemical scrubber. (Photo credit: M. Deshusses.)
The Orange County Sanitation District scrubber and biotrickling filter. (Photo credit: M. Deshusses.)
Scientists at UC Riverside have pushed the current limit of a technique for biologically removing hydrogen sulfide from sewage emissions a step further. Marc Deshusses, associate professor in the department of chemical and environmental engineering, and his postdoctoral researcher, David Gabriel, report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that they have modified an existing full-scale chemical scrubber at the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD), California, to a biological trickling filter.
"Hydrogen sulfide odors, which have the smell of rotten eggs, can be treated in biological reactors called biotrickling filters at rates similar to those observed in chemical scrubbers," said Deshusses. "Biotreatment is cheaper, safer, and more environmentally friendly. In our paper, we also show that you can convert existing chemical scrubbers to biological trickling filters quite easily."
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