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Integrated biodepuration of pesticide-contaminated wastewaters from the fruit-packaging industry using biobeds: Bioaugmentation, risk assessment and optimized management

Karas, Panagiotis A., Perruchon, Chiara, Karanasios, Evangelos, Papadopoulou, Evangelia S., Manthou, Elena, Sitra, Stefania, Ehaliotis, Constantinos, Karpouzas, Dimitrios G.
Journal of hazardous materials 2016 v.320 pp. 635-644
Citrus, aromatic compounds, bacteria, bioaugmentation, composting, decontamination, effluents, fungi, fungicides, genes, industry, inoculum, microbial communities, packaging materials, risk, risk assessment, thiabendazole, toxicity, wastewater
Wastewaters from fruit-packaging plants contain high loads of toxic and persistent pesticides and should be treated on site. We evaluated the depuration performance of five pilot biobeds against those effluents. In addition we tested bioaugmentation with bacterial inocula as a strategy for optimization of their depuration capacity. Finally we determined the composition and functional dynamics of the microbial community via q-PCR. Practical issues were also addressed including the risk associated with the direct environmental disposal of biobed-treated effluents and decontamination methods for the spent packing material. Biobeds showed high depuration capacity (>99.5%) against all pesticides with bioaugmentation maximizing their depuration performance against the persistent fungicide thiabendazole (TBZ). This was followed by a significant increase in the abundance of bacteria, fungi and of catabolic genes of aromatic compounds catA and pcaH. Bioaugmentation was the most potent decontamination method for spent packing material with composting being an effective alternative. Risk assessment based on practical scenarios (pome and citrus fruit-packaging plants) and the depuration performance of the pilot biobeds showed that discharge of the treated effluents into an 0.1-ha disposal site did not entail an environmental risk, except for TBZ-containing effluents where a larger disposal area (0.2ha) or bioaugmentation alleviated the risk.