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ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.


Subject
Date Range
2011 2019


To address sustainability issues in wastewater treatment (WWT), Siemens Water Technologies (SWT) has designed a "hybrid" process that couples common activated sludge (AS) and anaerobic digestion (AD) technologies with the novel concepts of AD sludge recycle and biosorption. At least 85% of the hybrid's AD sludge is recycled to the AS process, providing additional sorbent for influent particulate chemical oxygen demand (PCOD) biosorption in contact tanks. Biosorbed PCOD is transported to the AD, where it is converted to methane. The aim of this study is to provide mass balance and microbial community analysis (MCA) of SWT's two hybrid and one …

Contributors
Young, Michelle Nichole, Rittmann, Bruce E., Fox, Peter, et al.
Created Date
2011

DehaloR^2 is a previously characterized, trichloroethene (TCE)-dechlorinating culture and contains bacteria from the known dechlorinating genus, Dehalococcoides. DehaloR^2 was exposed to three anthropogenic contaminants, Triclocarban (TCC), tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP), and 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA) and two biogenic-like halogenated compounds, 2,6-dibromophenol (2,6-DBP) and 2,6-dichlorophenol (2,6-DCP). The effects on TCE dechlorination ability due to 2,6-DBP and 2,6-DCP exposures were also investigated. DehaloR^2 did not dechlorinate TCC or TCEP. After initial exposure to TCA, half of the initial TCA was dechlorinated to 1,1-dichloroethane (DCA), however half of the TCA remained by day 100. Subsequent TCA and TCE re-exposure showed no reductive dechlorination activity for both …

Contributors
Kegerreis, Kylie Lynn, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, Halden, Rolf U, et al.
Created Date
2012

In this work, the vapor transport and aerobic bio-attenuation of compounds from a multi-component petroleum vapor mixture were studied for six idealized lithologies in 1.8-m tall laboratory soil columns. Columns representing different geological settings were prepared using 20-40 mesh sand (medium-grained) and 16-minus mesh crushed granite (fine-grained). The contaminant vapor source was a liquid composed of twelve petroleum hydrocarbons common in weathered gasoline. It was placed in a chamber at the bottom of each column and the vapors diffused upward through the soil to the top where they were swept away with humidified gas. The experiment was conducted in three …

Contributors
Escobar Melendez, Elsy Alejandrina, Johnson, Paul C., Andino, Jean, et al.
Created Date
2012

As engineered nanomaterials (NMs) become used in industry and commerce their loading to sewage will increase. However, the fate of widely used NMs in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) remains poorly understood. In this research, sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) were operated with hydraulic (HRT) and sludge (SRT) retention times representative of full-scale biological WWTPs for several weeks. NM loadings at the higher range of expected environmental concentrations were selected. To achieve the pseudo-equilibrium state concentration of NMs in biomass, SBR experiments needed to operate for more than three times the SRT value, approximately 18 days. Under the conditions tested, NMs had …

Contributors
Wang, Yifei, Westerhoff, Paul, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, et al.
Created Date
2012

Contamination by chlorinated ethenes is widespread in groundwater aquifers, sediment, and soils worldwide. The overarching objectives of my research were to understand how the bacterial genus Dehalococcoides function optimally to carry out reductive dechlorination of chlorinated ethenes in a mixed microbial community and then apply this knowledge to manage dechlorinating communities in the hydrogen-based membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR). The MBfR is used for the biological reduction of oxidized contaminants in water using hydrogen supplied as the electron donor by diffusion through gas-transfer fibers. First, I characterized a new anaerobic dechlorinating community developed in our laboratory, named DehaloR^2, in terms of …

Contributors
Ziv-El, Michal, Rittmann, Bruce E, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, et al.
Created Date
2012

The overall goal of this dissertation is to advance understanding of biofilm reduction of oxidized contaminants in water and wastewater. Chapter 1 introduces the fundamentals of biological reduction of three oxidized contaminants (nitrate, perchlorate, and trichloriethene (TCE)) using two biofilm processes (hydrogen-based membrane biofilm reactors (MBfR) and packed-bed heterotrophic reactors (PBHR)), and it identifies the research objectives. Chapters 2 through 6 focus on nitrate removal using the MBfR and PBHR, while chapters 7 through 10 investigate simultaneous reduction of nitrate and another oxidized compound (perchlorate, sulfate, or TCE) in the MBfR. Chapter 11 summarizes the major findings of this research. …

Contributors
Tang, Youneng, Rittmann, Bruce E, Westerhoff, Paul, et al.
Created Date
2012

To further the efforts producing energy from more renewable sources, microbial electrochemical cells (MXCs) can utilize anode respiring bacteria (ARB) to couple the oxidation of an organic substrate to the delivery of electrons to the anode. Although ARB such as Geobacter and Shewanella have been well-studied in terms of their microbiology and electrochemistry, much is still unknown about the mechanism of electron transfer to the anode. To this end, this thesis seeks to elucidate the complexities of electron transfer existing in Geobacter sulfurreducens biofilms by employing Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) as the tool of choice. Experiments measuring EIS resistances as …

Contributors
Ajulo, Oluyomi, Torres, Cesar, Nielsen, David, et al.
Created Date
2013

This dissertation explores the use of bench-scale batch microcosms in remedial design of contaminated aquifers, presents an alternative methodology for conducting such treatability studies, and - from technical, economical, and social perspectives - examines real-world application of this new technology. In situ bioremediation (ISB) is an effective remedial approach for many contaminated groundwater sites. However, site-specific variability necessitates the performance of small-scale treatability studies prior to full-scale implementation. The most common methodology is the batch microcosm, whose potential limitations and suitable technical alternatives are explored in this thesis. In a critical literature review, I discuss how continuous-flow conditions stimulate microbial …

Contributors
Kalinowski, Tomasz, Halden, Rolf U, Johnson, Paul C, et al.
Created Date
2013

This work focuses on a generalized assessment of source zone natural attenuation (SZNA) at chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbon (CAH) impacted sites. Given the numbers of sites and technical challenges for cleanup there is a need for a SZNA method at CAH impacted sites. The method anticipates that decision makers will be interested in the following questions: 1-Is SZNA occurring and what processes contribute? 2-What are the current SZNA rates? 3-What are the longer-term implications? The approach is macroscopic and uses multiple lines-of-evidence. An in-depth application of the generalized non-site specific method over multiple site events, with sampling refinement approaches applied for …

Contributors
Ekre, Ryan, Johnson, Paul Carr, Rittmann, Bruce, et al.
Created Date
2013

In situ remediation of contaminated aquifers, specifically in situ bioremediation (ISB), has gained popularity over pump-and-treat operations. It represents a more sustainable approach that can also achieve complete mineralization of contaminants in the subsurface. However, the subsurface reality is very complex, characterized by hydrodynamic groundwater movement, geological heterogeneity, and mass-transfer phenomena governing contaminant transport and bioavailability. These phenomena cannot be properly studied using commonly conducted laboratory batch microcosms lacking realistic representation of the processes named above. Instead, relevant processes are better understood by using flow-through systems (sediment columns). However, flow-through column studies are typically conducted without replicates. Due to additional …

Contributors
Mcclellan, Kristin, Halden, Rolf U, Johnson, Paul C, et al.
Created Date
2013

Uranium (U) contamination has been attracting public concern, and many researchers are investigating principles and applications of U remediation. The overall goal of my research is to understand the versatile roles of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) in uranium bioremediation, including direct involvement (reducing U) and indirect involvement (protecting U reoxidation). I pursue this goal by studying Desulfovibro vuglaris, a representative SRB. For direct involvement, I performed experiments on uranium bioreduction and uraninite (UO2) production in batch tests and in a H2-based membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR) inoculated with D. vuglaris. In summary, D. vuglaris was able to immobilize soluble U(VI) by enzymatically …

Contributors
Zhou, Chen, Rittmann, Bruce E, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, et al.
Created Date
2014

Water contamination with nitrate (NO3−) (from fertilizers) and perchlorate (ClO4−) (from rocket fuel and explosives) is a widespread environmental problem. I employed the Membrane Biofilm Reactor (MBfR), a novel bioremediation technology, to treat NO3− and ClO4− in the presence of naturally occurring sulfate (SO42−). In the MBfR, bacteria reduce oxidized pollutants that act as electron acceptors, and they grow as a biofilm on the outer surface of gas-transfer membranes that deliver the electron donor (hydrogen gas, (H2). The overarching objective of my research was to achieve a comprehensive understanding of ecological interactions among key microbial members in the MBfR when …

Contributors
Ontiveros, Aura, Rittmann, Bruce E., Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, et al.
Created Date
2014

Nitrate, a widespread contaminant in surface water, can cause eutrophication and toxicity to aquatic organisms. To augment the nitrate-removal capacity of constructed wetlands, I applied the H2-based Membrane Biofilm Reactor (MBfR) in a novel configuration called the in situ MBfR (isMBfR). The goal of my thesis is to evaluate and model the nitrate removal performance for a bench-scale isMBfR system. I operated the bench-scale isMBfR system in 7 different conditions to evaluate its nitrate-removal performance. When I supplied H2 with the isMBfR (stages 1 - 6), I observed at least 70% nitrate removal, and almost all of the denitrification occurred …

Contributors
Li, Yizhou, Rittmann, Bruce, Vivoni, Enrique, et al.
Created Date
2014

Microbial Electrochemical Cell (MXC) technology harnesses the power stored in wastewater by using anode respiring bacteria (ARB) as a biofilm catalyst to convert the energy stored in waste into hydrogen or electricity. ARB, or exoelectrogens, are able to convert the chemical energy stored in wastes into electrical energy by transporting electrons extracellularly and then transferring them to an electrode. If MXC technology is to be feasible for ‘real world’ applications, it is essential that diverse ARB are discovered and their unique physiologies elucidated- ones which are capable of consuming a broad spectrum of wastes from different contaminated water sources. This …

Contributors
Lusk, Bradley Gary, Torres, César I, Rittmann, Bruce E, et al.
Created Date
2015

This study reports on benzene and toluene biodegradation under different dissolved oxygen conditions, and the goal of this study is to evaluate and model their removal. Benzene and toluene were tested for obligate anaerobic degradation in batch reactors with sulfate as the electron acceptor. A group of sulfate-reducing bacteria capable of toluene degradation was enriched after 252 days of incubation. Those cultures, originated from anaerobic digester, were able to degrade toluene coupled to sulfate reduction with benzene coexistence, while they were not able to utilize benzene. Methanogens also were present, although their contribution to toluene biodegradation was not defined. Aerobic …

Contributors
Liu, Zhuolin, Rittmann, Bruce E, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, et al.
Created Date
2015

Photosynthesis converts sunlight to biomass at a global scale. Among the photosynthetic organisms, cyanobacteria provide an excellent model to study how photosynthesis can become a practical platform of large-scale biotechnology. One novel approach involves metabolically engineering the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 to excrete laurate, which is harvested directly. This work begins by defining a working window of light intensity (LI). Wild-type and laurate-excreting Synechocystis required an LI of at least 5 µE/m2-s to sustain themselves, but are photo-inhibited by LI of 346 to 598 µE/m2-s. Fixing electrons into valuable organic products, e.g., biomass and excreted laurate, is critical to …

Contributors
Nguyen, Binh T., Rittmann, Bruce E, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, et al.
Created Date
2015

Bioremediation of trichloroethene (TCE) using Dehalococcoides mccartyi-containing microbial cultures is a recognized and successful remediation technology. Our work with an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor has shown that high-performance, fast-rate dechlorination of TCE can be achieved by promoting bioflocculation of Dehalococcoides mccartyi-containing cultures. The bioreactor achieved high maximum conversion rates of 1.63 ± 0.012 mmol Cl- Lculture-1 h-1 at an HRT of 3.6 hours and >97% dechlorination of TCE to ethene while continuously fed 2 mM TCE. The UASB generated bioflocs from a microbially heterogeneous dechlorinating culture and produced Dehalococcoides mccartyi densities of 1.73x10-13 cells Lculture-1 indicating that bioflocculation …

Contributors
Fajardo-Williams, Devyn J., Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, Torres, Cesar I, et al.
Created Date
2015

Creating sustainable alternatives to fossil fuel resources is one of the greatest challenges facing mankind. Solar energy provides an excellent option to alleviate modern dependence on fossil fuels. However, efficient methods to harness solar energy are still largely lacking. Biomass from photosynthetic organisms can be used as feedstock to produce traditional fuels, but must be produced in great quantities in order to meet the demands of growing populations. Cyanobacteria are prokaryotic photosynthetic microorganisms that can produce biomass on large scales using only sunlight, carbon dioxide, water, and small amounts of nutrients. Thus, Cyanobacteria are a viable option for sustainable production …

Contributors
Zevin, Alexander Simon, Rittmann, Bruce E, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, et al.
Created Date
2015

Large-scale cultivation of photosynthetic microorganisms for the production of biodiesel and other valuable commodities must be made more efficient. Recycling the water and nutrients acquired from biomass harvesting promotes a more sustainable and economically viable enterprise. This study reports on growing the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 using permeate obtained from concentrating the biomass by cross-flow membrane filtration. I used a kinetic model based on the available light intensity (LI) to predict biomass productivity and evaluate overall performance. During the initial phase of the study, I integrated a membrane filter with a bench-top photobioreactor (PBR) and created a continuously operating …

Contributors
Thompson, Matthew John, Rittmann, Bruce E, Fox, Peter, et al.
Created Date
2015

Microbial electrochemical cells (MXCs) serve as an alternative anaerobic technology to anaerobic digestion for efficient energy recovery from high-strength organic wastes such as primary sludge (PS). The overarching goal of my research was to address energy conversion from PS to useful resources (e.g. hydrogen or hydrogen peroxide) through bio- and electro-chemical anaerobic conversion processes in MXCs. First, a new flat-pate microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) was designed with high surface area anodes using carbon fibers, but without creating a large distance between the anode and the cathode (<0.5 cm) to reduce Ohmic overpotential. Through the improved design, operation, and electrochemical characterization, …

Contributors
Ki, Dong Won, Torres, César I, Rittmann, Bruce E, et al.
Created Date
2016