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Effects of Surface Active Additives on the Enzymatic Treatment of Phenol and Its Derivatives: a Mini Review

Alshabib, Muntathir, Onaizi, Sagheer A.
Current pollution reports 2019 v.5 no.2 pp. 52-65
additives, biopolymers, biosurfactants, enzymatic treatment, enzyme inhibition, enzymes, phenol, pollutants, pollution, remediation, toxicity, wastewater
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Phenolic wastewaters represent a serious health and environmental problem. The remediation of phenolic wastewaters using oxidoreductase enzymes has emerged as an attractive environmentally friendly treatment method. However, the loss of enzyme activity during the treatment remains a key limitation. Thus, the aim of this article is to review and assess the recent progress in utilizing surface active additives (i.e., polymers, biopolymers, surfactants, and biosurfactants) for the reduction of enzyme inhibition and, thus, the enhancement of enzymatic remediation of phenolic wastewaters. RECENT FINDINGS: The reported effect of polymeric and surfactant additives on the enzymatic remediation of phenolic pollutants is mixed. Some studies reported significant enhancements while others demonstrated minimal or no gains. More seriously, it has been reported that these fossil-based additives might lead to a higher toxicity of the treated wastewaters. Bio-based (biopolymers and biosurfactants) additives might address this toxicity issue; however, the bio-based additives are not always as effective as the fossil-based ones. Despite the beneficial effect, with some exceptions, of additives, the enhancement level varies widely, probably due to the variations in the reaction environment. Thus, to draw meaningful and reliable conclusions on which additive(s) is more promising, thorough studies under unified conditions are needed. Additionally, generation of secondary pollutions associated with the fossil-based additives urges the replacement of such additives with bio-based ones. However, the effectiveness of the bio-based additives is still not sufficiently documented, stressing the need for more in-depth studies.