Odour is a serious complaint associated with waste air emissions that creates nuisance due to its malodorous behaviour. Its treatment process ranges from physical, chemical to biological means. A biological treatment system has several advantages over the physical and chemical technologies in being ecofriendly, more efficient with low operational cost and characterized by high flow rates of waste gas with low concentration of contaminants. Application of microorganisms in waste treatment has long been realized, especially in degrading various compounds in the waste gas that cause odour. However, the type of microorganism and its metabolism for the particular odorant are the factors crucially considered in designing a biological treatment system. Biofilters are well-known biological filtration systems that employ microorganisms for treating odours from waste gases. This report describes the generation of odorants from different sources and their possible degradation by suitable microbial cultures. In addition, comparisons among physiochemical and biological methods for odour abatement have been discussed. Nevertheless, the type of biofilter, its packing material and other reaction conditions for an effective biofiltration have also been considered.
Key words: Air pollution, biofiltration, open-type biofilters, closed-type biofilters, microbial biodegradation.
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