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Potential effects of suspended TiO2 nanoparticles on activated sludge floc properties in membrane bioreactors

Zhou, Lijie, Zhuang, Wei-Qin, De Costa, Yashika, Xia, Siqing
Chemosphere 2019 v.223 pp. 148-156
Comamonadaceae, Thiotrichaceae, activated sludge, bacterial communities, bacterial proteins, dominant species, flocculation, membrane bioreactors, nanoparticles, organic matter, phylogeny, products and commodities, protein secretion, titanium dioxide, viability, wastewater treatment
With the rapid development and application of consumer products containing nanoparticles (NPs), especially titanium dioxide (TiO2) NPs, the potential effects of suspended NPs on wastewater treatment has been a concern over the recent years. This study investigated the potential effects of suspended TiO2 NPs on activated sludge flocculation properties in a membrane bioreactor (MBR). Results showed that suspended TiO2 NPs inhibited the viability of activated sludge flocs, and led to bacterial protein secretion for bacterial protection, causing an overall protein increase of soluble microbial products. Suspended TiO2 NPs also destabilized the activated sludge floc structure and reduced flocculation capacity of flocs, causing an over production of organic matter and resulting in a floc size decrease of over 50%. Suspended TiO2 NPs also caused a change in the phylogenetic distribution of bacterial community. Whereby, the dominant species in activated sludge was replaced from Comamonadaceae to Thiotrichaceae in 50 mg/L suspended TiO2 NPs.