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Anaerobic digestion to reduce biomass and remove arsenic from As-hyperaccumulator Pteris vittata

da Silva, Evandro B., Mussoline, Wendy A., Wilkie, Ann C., Ma, Lena Q.
Environmental pollution 2019 v.250 pp. 23-28
Pteris vittata, anaerobic digestion, arsenic, biomass, gases, liquids, methane, methane production, phytoremediation, solubilization
The lack of efficient methods to treat As-rich biomass is a drawback for phytoremediation technology. In this study, we applied anaerobic digestion to reduce biomass and remove As from As-rich Pteris vittata biomass. P. vittata biomass including control (3.1 mg kg−1 As) and As-rich (2665 mg kg−1 As), together with positive and negative controls, was anaerobically digested at 35 °C for 35 d. Arsenic partitioning among gas, liquid and solid phases after anaerobic digestion was determined. Methane index potential assay was used to assess methane yields whereas liquid-displacement method was used to measure methane gas production. After 35 d, As partitioning in the liquid, solid and gas phases was 79, 30 and 1%, respectively. Besides, volatile solid was decreased from 91 to 12–17% total solid, while P. vittata biomass was decreased by 73–83%. Moreover, anaerobic digestion solubilized 76% As from P. vittata biomass, with 90% soluble As at 4.95 mg L−1 being recovered by As-Mg precipitation. Finally, methane production after 35 d was 197–212 LNCH4/kg volatile solid, showing slight As inhibition. Effective As removal from P. vittata biomass prior to disposal can improve the phytoremediation process.