To show that an adsorbing biofilm carrier (GAC) can be advantageous for atrazine bioremediation over a non-adsorbing carrier, fluidized bed (FB) reactors were operated under atrazine limiting concentrations using Pseudomonas sp. strain ADP as the atrazine degrading bacteria. The following interrelated subjects were investigated: 1) atrazine adsorption to GAC under conditions of atrazine partial penetration in the biofilm, 2) differences in atrazine degradation rates and 3) stability of atrazine biodegradation under non-sterile anoxic conditions in the GAC reactor versus a reactor with a non-adsorbing biofilm carrier. Results from batch adsorption tests together with modeling best described the biofilm as patchy in nature with covered and non-biofilm covered areas. Under conditions of atrazine partial penetration in the biofilm, atrazine adsorption occurs in the non-covered areas and is consequently desorbed at the base of the biofilm substantially increasing the active biofilm surface area. The double flux of atrazine to the biofilm in the GAC reactor results in lower effluent atrazine concentrations as compared to a FB reactor with a non-adsorbing carrier. Moreover, under non-sterile denitrification conditions, atrazine degradation stability was found to be much higher (several months) using GAC as a biofilm carrier while non-adsorbing carrier reactors showed sharp deterioration within 30 days due to contamination of non-atrazine degrading bacteria.

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