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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.


Contributor
Date Range
2010 2019


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

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 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

Petroleum contamination is ubiquitous during extraction, transportation, refining, and storage. Contamination damages the soil’s ecosystem function, reduces its aesthetics, and poses a potential threat to human beings. The overall goals of this dissertation are to advance understanding of the mechanisms behind ozonation of petroleum-contaminated soil and to configure an effective integrated bioremediation + ozonation remedial strategy to remove the overall organic carbon. Using a soil column, I conducted batch ozonation experiments for different soils and at different moisture levels. I measured multiple parameters: e.g., total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC), to build a full understanding of the …

Contributors
Chen, Tengfei, Rittmann, Bruce E, Westerhoff, Paul, et al.
Created Date
2018

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

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

Microbial electrochemical cells (MXCs) offer an alternative to methane production in anaerobic water treatment and the recapture of energy in waste waters. MXCs use anode respiring bacteria (ARB) to oxidize organic compounds and generate electrical current. In both anaerobic digestion and MXCs, an anaerobic food web connects the metabolisms of different microorganisms, using hydrolysis, fermentation and either methanogenesis or anode respiration to break down organic compounds, convert them to acetate and hydrogen, and then convert those intermediates into either methane or current. In this dissertation, understanding and managing the interactions among fermenters, methanogens, and ARB were critical to making developments …

Contributors
Miceli, Joseph Francis, Torres, César I, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, 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

The objective of this study was to evaluate possible bioremediation strategy for aerobic aquifers by combining ZVI chemical reduction and microbial reductive dechlorination for TCE and ClO4-. To achieve this objective, continuous flow-through soil columns were used to test the hypothesis that bioaugmentation with dechlorinating enrichment cultures downstream of the ZVI injection can lead to complete reduction of TCE and ClO4- in aerobic aquifers. We obtained soil and groundwater from a Superfund site in Arizona. The experiments consisted of 205 cm3 columns packed with soil and ZVI, which fed 1025 cm3 columns packed with soil, biostimulated with fermentable substrates and …

Contributors
Rao, Shefali, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, Delgado, Anca G., et al.
Created Date
2019

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

Water contamination with nitrate (NO3&minus;) (from fertilizers) and perchlorate (ClO4&minus;) (from rocket fuel and explosives) is a widespread environmental problem. I employed the Membrane Biofilm Reactor (MBfR), a novel bioremediation technology, to treat NO3&minus; and ClO4&minus; in the presence of naturally occurring sulfate (SO42&minus;). 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

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

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

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

ABSTRACT Sustainable global energy production is one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. Next-generation renewable energy sources include using photosynthetic microbes such as cyanobacteria for efficient production of sustainable fuels from sunlight. The cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC 6803 (Synechocystis) is a genetically tractable model organism for plant-like photosynthesis that is used to develop microbial biofuel technologies. However, outside of photosynthetic processes, relatively little is known about the biology of microbial phototrophs such as Synechocystis, which impairs their development into market-ready technologies. My research objective was to characterize strategic aspects of Synechocystis biology related to its use in biofuel production; …

Contributors
Allen, Rebecca Custer, Curtiss III, Roy, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, et al.
Created Date
2016

Intimate coupling of Ti2 photocatalysis and biodegradation (ICPB) offers potential for degrading biorecalcitrant and toxic organic compounds much better than possible with conventional wastewater treatments. This study reports on using a novel sponge-type, Ti2-coated biofilm carrier that shows significant adherence of Ti2 to its exterior and the ability to accumulate biomass in its interior (protected from UV light and free radicals). First, this carrier was tested for ICPB in a continuous-flow photocatalytic circulating-bed biofilm reactor (PCBBR) to mineralize biorecalcitrant organic: 2,4,5-trichlorophenol (TCP). Four mechanisms possibly acting of ICPB were tested separately: TCP adsorption, UV photolysis/photocatalysis, and biodegradation. The carrier exhibited …

Contributors
Li, Guozheng, Rittmann, Bruce E, Halden, Rolf, et al.
Created Date
2011

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

Reductive dechlorination by members of the bacterial genus Dehalococcoides is a common and cost-effective avenue for in situ bioremediation of sites contaminated with the chlorinated solvents, trichloroethene (TCE) and perchloroethene (PCE). The overarching goal of my research was to address some of the challenges associated with bioremediation timeframes by improving the rates of reductive dechlorination and the growth of Dehalococcoides in mixed communities. Biostimulation of contaminated sites or microcosms with electron donor fails to consistently promote dechlorination of PCE/TCE beyond cis-dichloroethene (cis-DCE), even when the presence of Dehalococcoides is confirmed. Supported by data from microcosm experiments, I showed that the …

Contributors
Delgado, Anca Georgiana, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, Cadillo-Quiroz, Hinsby, et al.
Created Date
2013

This dissertation critically evaluated methodologies and devices for assessing and protecting the health of human populations, with particular emphasis on groundwater remediation and the use of wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) to inform population health. A meta-analysis and assessment of laboratory-scale treatability studies for removing chlorinated solvents from groundwater found that sediment microcosms operated as continuous-flow columns are preferable to batch bottles when seeking to emulate with high fidelity the complex conditions prevailing in the subsurface in contaminated aquifers (Chapter 2). Compared to monitoring at the field-scale, use of column microcosms also showed (i) improved chemical speciation, and (ii) qualitative predictability of …

Contributors
Driver, Erin, Halden, Rolf, Conroy-Ben, Otakuye, et al.
Created Date
2018

On average, our society generates ~0.5 ton of municipal solid waste per person annually. Biomass waste can be gasified to generate synthesis gas (syngas), a gas mixture consisting predominantly of CO, CO2, and H2. Syngas, rich in carbon and electrons, can fuel the metabolism of carboxidotrophs, anaerobic microorganisms that metabolize CO (a toxic pollutant) and produce biofuels (H2, ethanol) and commodity chemicals (acetate and other fatty acids). Despite the attempts for commercialization of syngas fermentation by several companies, the metabolic processes involved in CO and syngas metabolism are not well understood. This dissertation aims to contribute to the understanding of …

Contributors
Esquivel Elizondo, Sofia Victoria, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, Rittmann, Bruce E., et al.
Created Date
2017