Microbial reduction of perchlorate in pure and mixed culture packed-bed bioreactors

Kijung Kim, Bruce E. Logan

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88 Scopus citations


Perchlorate (ClO4-) has been detected in a large number of surface and ground waters in the US. Due to health concerns of perchlorate in drinking water, the California Department of Health Services has established a provisional action level of 18μg/L. Several microbial isolates have been obtained capable of microbiological perchlorate reduction through cell respiration, but few of these have been tested for perchlorate removals to these low levels. The feasibility of using one isolate (KJ) for water treatment was tested in a packed-bed bioreactor by comparing minimum detention times necessary to achieve complete removal of perchlorate. Perchlorate was reduced approximately from 20mg/L to non-detectable (<4μg/L) levels in acetate-fed columns inoculated with KJ or mixed cultures. The complete conversion of perchlorate to chloride was demonstrated by a stoichiometric ratio of perchlorate to chloride of 1.0±0.14. Perchlorate removal to non-detectable levels required a minimum empty bed contact time (EBCT) of only 2.1min for the column inoculated with KJ, vs. 31min for the mixed culture column. Acetate was used at a molar ratio of C2H3O2-/ClO4- of 2.9 (n=6) for the mixed culture, while more than twice as much acetate was consumed on average (6.6±2.0, n=156) by the pure culture. These results demonstrate that detention times of packed-bed bioreactors can be substantially reduced using isolate KJ, but that larger concentrations of acetate will be necessary to reduce perchlorate to low levels necessary for drinking water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3071-3076
Number of pages6
JournalWater Research
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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