Characterization of microbial species in a regenerative bio-filter system for volatile organic compound removal

Posted by Phil Hollins on Aug 24, 2016

Authors: Huang, W.H., Wang, Z., Choudhary, G., Guo, B., Zhang, J. and Ren, D.

Year of publication: 2012

Publication: HVAC&R Research, 18(1-2), pp.169-178.

Keywords: VOCs, indoor air pollution, microbes,

Link to publication

Using a plant based bio-filtration system with a root bed of activated carbon and porous shale pebbles, researchers at Syracuse University, USA (2001), investigated the behaviour of microbes in a formaldehyde rich environment. Using Golden Pothos (Bostoniensis and Phoenix roebelenii) the microbes from the plant roots and pebbles were collected and universal primers used to amplify 16S rRNA genes and identify bacteria strain.


In total, the researchers identified seven different strains of bacteria: Arthrobacter aurescens, A. oxydans, Leifsonia xyli, Pseudomonas putida, and Bacillus sp., including B. cereus. Of particular interest was a strain of A. aurescens, since it was found to be able to remove 86% of formaldehyde within 24 h under a starting concentration of 11.84 ppm.

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