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Two-step treatment of brewery wastewater using electrocoagulation and cyanobacteria-based cultivation

Papadopoulos, Konstantinos P., Economou, Christina N., Tekerlekopoulou, Athanasia G., Vayenas, Dimitris V.
Journal of environmental management 2020 v.265 pp. 110543
activated sludge, aluminum, ammonium, biomass, bioremediation, carbohydrate content, carbohydrates, chemical oxygen demand, color, decolorization, electrochemistry, electrocoagulation, electrodes, iron, nitrates, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, total phosphorus, total suspended solids, wastewater
This study combines electrocoagulation (EC) and cyanobacteria-based cultivation for the two-step treatment of brewery wastewater (BW), with the aim to develop a viable alternative to conventional activated sludge technology. The first step applied EC as a pretreatment method, using different electrode materials (aluminum and iron), to remove color and some pollutant load from the BW. After 30 min of EC treatment, decolorization of BW exceeded 80% for both electrode materials and a 100% reduction of total suspended solids was achieved. In the second step, the electrochemically pretreated BW was used as substrate for a cyanobacteria-based cultivation. After 15 days of cultivation total biomass concentrations (containing up to 50% carbohydrates) reached 525.0 mg L⁻¹ and 740.0 mg L⁻¹, for aluminum- and iron-pretreated BW, respectively. Moreover, the cyanobacterial community assimilated most of the residual aluminum and iron produced by the EC process, therefore verifying its bioremediation abilities. The combined process also proved effective at pollutant removal (89.1%, 100%, 89.4%, 98.5% and 91.6% of nitrate, ammonium, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, total phosphorus and chemical oxygen demand, respectively). The two-stage treatment method proposed could offer a promising alternative to conventional BW treatment technologies as it combines both efficiency and sustainability.