Aquatic environment

Biotransformation of nonylphenol ethoxylates during sewage treatmentunder anaerobic and aerobic conditions

ZHANG Jing , YANG Min , ZHANG Yu , CHEN Meixue


Received April 03, 2007,Revised May 18, 2007, Accepted , Available online

Volume 20,2008,Pages 135-141

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Biotransformation of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEOs) during continuous anaerobic sewage treatment was compared with the aerobic treatment of sewage spiked with 23 mol/L technical NPEOs over a period of 90 d. Immediate degradation of NPEOs was observed under both anaerobic and aerobic conditions, indicating that the enzymes and bacteria required for NPEO degradation existed abundantly in both aerobic and anaerobic sludge. Both treatments achieved high removal (> 92%) of the spiked NPEO9 mixture. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis showed that short-chain NPEOs (NPEO1–NPEO3) accumulated in anaerobic (2.01–2.56 mol/L) and aerobic (1.62–2.03 mol/L) e uents, with nonylphenol (NP) (0.24–0.31 mol/L) as another group of metabolites in the anaerobic e uent, and nonylphenoxy carboxylates (NPECs) (2.79–3.30 mol/L) in the aerobic e uent. Significant accumulation of NP in the anaerobic sludge and NPEO1–3 in the sludge of two reactors was observed. These results indicated that it was di cult to control these harmful metabolites in the conventional treatment processes. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis profiles of sludge samples support the speculation that the NPEO degradation bacteria might be the dominant indigenous species.

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