The removal of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) from industrial gas streams has received a high priority due to its very low odorous threshold value and relatively low biodegradability compared to other reduced sulfur compounds. A variety of bacteria that utilize DMS as a carbon/energy source have been studied and the degradation pathway elucidated. However, to date, there have been few reports on the industrial application of such bacteria inoculated into a bioreactor for DMS treatment. An additional problem of such systems is the accumulation of intermediate metabolites that strongly impact on DMS removal by the microbe. The results reported here were obtained using a bioreactor inoculated with the H2S-degrader Pseudomonas putida and the DMS-degrader Microbacterium sp. NTUT26 to facilitate removal of metabolic intermediates and DMS. This bioreactor performed well (1.71 g-S/day/kg-dry packing material) in terms of DMS gas removal, based on an evaluation of the apparent kinetics and maximal removal capacity of the system. Under varying conditions (changes in start-up, inlet loading, shutdown, and re-start), the bioreactor inoculated with Microbacterium sp. NTUT26 and P. putida enhanced removal of high concentrations of DMS. Our results suggest that this type of bioreactor system has significant potential applications in treating (industrial) DMS gas streams.
JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL MICROBIOLOGY & BIOTECHNOLOGY