The role of cosubstrate and mixing on fungal biofilm efficiency in the removal of tannins

Environ Technol. 2020 Nov;41(26):3515-3523. doi: 10.1080/09593330.2019.1615128. Epub 2019 May 14.


Tannins are polyphenolic compounds produced by plants and they are used in industrial vegetable tanning of leather. Tannins represent one of the low biodegradability substances in tannery wastewaters with high recalcitrant soluble chemical oxygen demand, furthermore high concentration of tannins can inhibit biological treatment. In the present study, four novel rotating submerged packed bed reactors were inoculated with a selected fungal strain to reach a biological degradation of tannins in non-sterile conditions. The selected fungal strain, Aspergillus tubingensis MUT 990, was immobilised in polyurethane foam cubes carriers and inserted inside a submerged rotating cage reactors. The reactors were feed with a solution composed of four tannins: Quebracho (Schinopsis spp.), Wattle (Mimosa spp.), Chestnut (Castanea spp.) and Tara (Caesalpinia spp.). Four reactors with a volume of 4 L each were used, the co-substrate was pure malt extract, the hydraulic retention time was 24 h and the pH setpoint was 5.5. The reactors configuration was chosen to allow the study of the effect of rotation and the co-substrate addition on tannins removal. The experiment lasted two months and it was achieved 80% of chemical oxygen demand and up to 90% dissolved organic carbon removal, furthermore it was detected an important tannase activity.

Keywords: Aspergillus tubingensis; Natural tannins removal; malt extract; rotation; tannase.

MeSH terms

  • Biofilms
  • Biological Oxygen Demand Analysis
  • Fungi
  • Tannins*
  • Wastewater*


  • Tannins
  • Waste Water