Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Document Type



Industrial wood processing operations generate a variety of gaseous emissions containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). One of the VOCs emitted from the processing of coniferous softwood tree species is β-caryophyllene, a naturally occurring sesquiterpene of environmental concern. One approach that may be attractive for treating gaseous emissions of β-caryophyllene from wood processing operations is the use of fixed-film processes commonly referred to as biofiltration. Previously, it was established that β-caryophyllene can be successfully treated via biofiltration at temperatures in the mesophilic range. Many gaseous emissions from industrial wood processing operations, however, are higher in temperature than those employed in the initial report on the treatability of β-caryophyllene via biofiltration. This thesis describes experiments carried out to test the ability of a laboratory-scale biofilter operated at elevated temperature level (50°C) to remove β-caryophyllene from contaminated air. Results from experiments presented here demonstrate that it is technically feasible to treat β-caryophyllene even at high temperature. Results also demonstrate that with a properly selected microbial enrichment and inoculation strategy, the successful startup of a high temperature biofilter can be achieved over a time interval comparable to that previously reported for biofilters operated in the mesophilic temperature regime. Collectively, the results expand understanding of β-caryophyllene treatment by biofiltration.



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Committee Chair

Moe, William