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Three-dimensional excitation and emission matrix fluorescence (3DEEM) for quick and pseudo-quantitative determination of protein- and humic-like substances in full-scale membrane bioreactor (MBR)

Jacquin, Céline, Lesage, Geoffroy, Traber, Jacqueline, Pronk, Wouter, Heran, Marc
Water research 2017 v.118 pp. 82-92
activated sludge, carbon, fluorescence, fluorescence emission spectroscopy, fouling, liquid chromatography, membrane bioreactors, nitrogen, organic matter, prediction, principal component analysis, process control, wastewater treatment
The goal of this study is to help filling the research gaps linked to the on-line application of fluorescence spectroscopy in wastewater treatment and data processing tools suitable for rapid correction and extraction of data contained in three-dimensional fluorescence excitation-emission matrix (3DEEM) for real-time studies. 3DEEM was evaluated for direct quantification of Effluent Organic Matter (EfOM) fractions in full-scale MBR bulk supernatant and permeate samples. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was used to investigate possible correlations between conventional Lowry and Dubois methods, Liquid Chromatography coupled to Organic Carbon and Organic Nitrogen Detection (LC-OCD-OND) and 3DEEM. 3DEEM data were analyzed using the volume of fluorescence (Φ) parameter from the Fluorescence Regional Integration (FRI) method. Two mathematical correlations were established between LC-OCD-OND and 3DEEM data to quantify protein-like and humic-like substances. These correlations were validated with supplementary data from the initial full-scale MBR, and were checked with samples from other systems (a second full-scale MBR, a full-scale conventional activated sludge (CAS) and a laboratory-scale MBR). While humic-like correlation showed satisfactory prediction for a second full-scale MBR and a CAS system, further studies are required for protein-like estimation in other systems. This new approach offers interesting perspectives for the on-line application of 3DEEM for EfOM quantification (protein-like and humic-like substances), fouling prediction and MBR process control.