Microbial community in biofilters for water reuse applications: A critical review

Tatiana C. Guarin, Krishna R. Pagilla

Research output: Articles / NotesArticle in a non-specialized journalpeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The combination of ozonation (O3) and biofiltration processes has become practical and desirable in advanced water reclamation for water reuse applications. However, the role of microbial community and its characteristics (source, abundance, composition, viability, structure) on treatment performance has not received the same attention in water reclamation biofilters as in other applications, such as in drinking water biofilters. Microbial community characterization of biofilters used in water reuse applications will add evidence to better understand the potential microorganisms, consequent risks, and mechanisms that will populate drinking water sources and ultimately influence public health and the environment. This critical review provides insights into O3-biofiltration as a treatment barrier with a focus on development, structure, and composition of the microbial community characteristics involved in the process. The effect of microorganism seeding by the influent before and after the biofilter and ozone oxidation effects are explored to capture the microbial ecology interactions and environmental factors affecting the media ecosystem. The findings of reviewed studies concurred in identifying Proteobacteria as the most dominant phylum. However, Proteobacteria and other phyla relative abundance differ substantially depending upon environmental factors (e.g., pH, temperature, nutrients availability, among others) gradients. In general, we found significant gaps to relate and explain the biodegradation performance and metabolic processes within the biofilter, and hence deserve future attention. We highlighted and identified key challenges and future research ideas to assure O3-biofiltration reliability as a promising barrier in advanced water treatment applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number145655
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodegradation
  • Biofiltration
  • Microbial community
  • Ozonation
  • Proteobacteria
  • Water reuse


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