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Decolorization of reactive azo dyes using a sequential chemical and activated sludge treatment

Meerbergen, Ken, Crauwels, Sam, Willems, Kris A., Dewil, Raf, Van Impe, Jan, Appels, Lise, Lievens, Bart
Journal of bioscience and bioengineering 2017 v.124 no.6 pp. 668-673
Aspergillus, Clostridium, Trichosporon, activated sludge, aqueous solutions, azo dyes, biological treatment, chemical treatment, color, community structure, cost effectiveness, decolorization, fabrics, hydrogen peroxide, microbial communities, models, organic matter, oxidation, toxicity, wastewater
Textile wastewater contains high concentrations of organic substances derived from diverse dyes and auxiliary chemicals, some of which are non-biodegradable and/or toxic. Therefore, it is essential that textile wastewater is treated and that these substances are removed before being discharged into the environment. A combination of advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) to obtain partial dye degradation followed by a biological treatment has been suggested as a promising method for cost-effective decolorization of wastewater. The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate a combined method of partial Fenton's oxidation and biological treatment using activated sludge for decolorization of azo dyes, which represent an important group of recalcitrant, toxic textile dyes. Using Reactive Violet 5 (RV5) as a model dye, color removal was significantly higher when the combined Fenton treatment/activated sludge method was used, as opposed to separate application of these treatments. More specifically, pretreatment with Fenton's reagent removed 52.9, 83.9 and 91.3 % of color from a 500 mg l⁻¹ RV5 aqueous solution within 60 min when H2O2 concentrations of 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0 mM were used, respectively. Subsequent biological treatment was found to significantly enhance the chemical treatment, with microbial decolorization removing 70.2 % of the remaining RV5 concentration, on average. Molecular analysis of the microbial community within the activated sludge revealed that exposure to RV5 shifted the community composition from diverse towards a highly-specialized community harboring taxa with azo dye degrading activity, including Trichosporon, Aspergillus and Clostridium species.