Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Publications

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Applied Engineering in Agriculture





First Page


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Research Focus Area(s)

Animal Production Systems Engineering


This article reviews literature on biofilter research both in laboratories and at confined livestock facilities. The purpose is to give an up-to-date review of biofilters used to mitigate of odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from agricultural facilities using biofilters. More specifically the article addresses: 1) Factors concerned in design and operation of biofilters such as media property, empty bed residence time, media moisture measurement and control, microbial ecology, construction, and operation cost; and 2) Biofilter performance such as odor/VOC reduction efficiency (RE), and air pressure drop. Lab-scale, pilot-scale, and full-scale biofilter studies were reviewed. Biofilter design and odor/VOC REs were summarized in tables for easy reference and for a perspective on the current state of the art. The relationship between the biofilter configuration/operation factors and biofiter performance was discussed. This literature study indicates: 1) Biofilters can be used as an effective technology for reducing odor/VOC emissions from animal facilities (RE up to 99% for odor and up to 86% for 16 odorous VOCs reported); 2) The three most important factors effecting biofilter performance are packing media, media moisture content, and empty bed residence time; 3) Removal efficiency, air pressure drop, and construction/operation cost are three parameters of concern when a biofilter is installed and operated; and 4) Further studies such as developing precise media moisture measurement and control technologies, bacterial structure, and long time full-scale biofilter tests are needed to better understand the biofiltration process and improve biofilter applications for agriculture.


This article is from Applied Engineering in Agriculture 25, no. 5 (2009): 751–766.

Copyright Owner

American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers



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