A method for increasing biodegradation of sparingly soluble volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in a bioreactor is disclosed. The method comprises dissolving in the aqueous phase of the bioreactor a water soluble, nontoxic, non-biodegradable polymer having a molecular weight of at least 500 and operable for decreasing the distribution coefficient of the VOCs. Polyoxyalkylene alkanols are preferred polymers. A method of increasing the growth rate of VOC-degrading microorganisms in the bioreactor and a method of increasing the solubility of sparingly soluble VOCs in aqueous solution are also disclosed.
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
The United States Government has rights in this invention disclosed under contract number DE-AC07-76ID01570 between the U.S. Department of Energy and EG&G Idaho, Inc., now contract number DE-AC07-94ID13223 with Lockheed Idaho Technologies Company.