BIOCATALYSIS OF LIGNIN AND COD IN PULP AND PAPER MILL EFFLUENT USING IMMOBILIZED SYMBIOTIC FUNGAL MYCELIA

Open Access
Author:
Binsomprasong, Natthida
Graduate Program:
Environmental Engineering
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
None
Committee Members:
  • Rachel Alice Brennan, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • Pulp and paper mill wastewater
  • white-rot fungi
Abstract:
The pulp and paper industry is a significant contributor of pollution to the environment, with effluents characterized by high chemical oxygen demand (COD), lignin, and color. White-rot fungi have the potential for treating these contaminants since they produce a variety of enzymes which can degrade lignin and other organic compounds. Each white-rot fungus produces different enzymes, however, and it has been shown that co-culturing various species together in suspension can increase total enzyme production and yield better overall remediation. In this study, the possibility of more efficient remediation of pulp and paper mill effluent was investigated by culturing the white rot fungi Phanerochate chrysosporium and Pleurotus ostreatus individually and together in a series of batch tests. The fungi were immobilized on 1” plastic Tri-pack balls in replicate, aerated batch reactors containing effluent from a local pulp and paper mill. The studies of P. chrysosporium alone indicate that it is able to remove 14-24% of COD, 15-30% of lignin, and 20-40% of color in unamended pulp and paper mill wastewater. With added carbon and nitrogen, the efficiency of remediation was enhanced 2 – 3 times, yielding removal of 50-60% COD, 70% lignin, and 40-50% color after only 7-14 days. Similarly amended studies with P. ostreatus yielded removal of 60-80% COD, 50-65% lignin, and 30-50% color. Co-culturing studies with the two fungi show high capacity for fungal growth and the overall remediation was increased 5-10% for COD, lignin, and color removal. Continuous-flow tests will be needed to validate these results prior to the development of full-scale mycoremediation systems for treating pulp and paper mill wastewater.