Corn processing wastewater was treated in an attached growth system of Rhizopus oligosporus fungi. The effects of hydraulic retention time (HRT) and plant-based components in the support media were evaluated in 1 L reactors under non-aseptic conditions. Plastic composite support (PCS) tubes, composed of 50% (w/w) polypropylene (PP) and 50% (w/w) agricultural products were used as support media or, as a test, PP only. A maximum chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal of 78% was achieved at a 5 h HRT with a biomass yield of 0.44 gVSS/gCODremoved. The biomass yield increased to 0.48 gVSS/gCODremoved while COD removal reduced to 70% at a 2.5 h HRT. Competitive bacterial growth was reduced at the shorter HRT. A lower HRT of 1.25 h led to biomass wash out from the reactor. Significantly lower COD removal of 28% and biomass yield of 0.19 gVSS/gCODremoved were observed in a biofilm reactor with PP tubes alone, indicating that the agricultural components in PCS media were essential for better biofilm formation and organic removal.

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