Treatment of oil sands process-affected water using moving bed biofilm reactors: With and without ozone pretreatment

Bioresour Technol. 2015 Sep:192:219-27. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2015.05.068. Epub 2015 May 22.


Two moving bed biofilm reactors (MBBRs) were operated to treat raw (untreated) and 30 mg/L ozone-treated oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). After 210 days, the MBBR process showed 18.3% of acid-extractable fraction (AEF) and 34.8% of naphthenic acids (NAs) removal, while the ozonation combined MBBR process showed higher removal of AEF (41.0%) and NAs (78.8%). Biodegradation of raw and ozone treated OSPW showed similar performance. UPLC/HRMS analysis showed a highest NAs removal efficiency with a carbon number of 14 and a -Z number of 4. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) showed thicker biofilms in the raw OSPW MBBR (97 ± 5 μm) than in the ozonated OSPW MBBR (71 ± 12 μm). Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (q-PCR) results showed higher abundance of gene copies of total bacteria and nitrogen removal relevant bacteria in the ozonated OSPW MBBR, but no significant difference was found. MiSeq sequencing showed Proteobacteria, Nitrospirae, and Acidobacteria were dominant.

Keywords: Biofilm; Microbial community; Moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR); Oil sands process-affected water (OSPW); Ozonation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Bioreactors / microbiology*
  • Industrial Waste / analysis
  • Oil and Gas Fields / chemistry*
  • Ozone / chemistry*
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid / methods
  • Water / chemistry*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / chemistry*


  • Industrial Waste
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Water
  • Ozone