Recent Published Articles

The short and long-term effect of polystyrene nanoplastics on nitrifying sludge at high nitrite concentrations

Da Li , Xiaolong Wang , Jialu Huang , Zhiqiang Qi , Ruiqin Kang , Chao Du


Received November 19, 2022,Revised , Accepted January 14, 2023, Available online January 28, 2023

Volume 36,2024,Pages 222-231

The effect of nanoplastics (NPs) on nitrite oxidation bacteria (NOB) community in treating high-strength wastewater remains unclear, which seriously affects the stability of nitrogen removal process. In this study, highly active nitrifying sludge was enriched and exposed to 50 nm polystyrene NPs (PS-NPs) for short-term (1, 100, 500, and 1000 mg/L, 1.5 hr) and long-term (1, 10, 100 mg/L, 40 days) at high nitrite concentration. In contrast to previous studies, our results showed that the exposures to PS-NPs had little effect on nitrifying performances. After long-term exposure, the protein/polysaccharide ratios in extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) were positively correlated with PS-NPs concentrations (0.78–0.99). The produced reactive oxygen species (ROS) were gradually removed, and PS-NPs higher than 10 mg/L caused damage to membrane integrity. Long-term exposure for 40 days increased the community diversity and caused significant differences between the control and exposed communities. The control group were dominated by Nitrobacter and Exiguobacterium, while the exposure group was dominated by Bacillus, Mycobacterium, and Nitrospira. A noticeable shift in the NOB community from Nitrobacter (26.5% to 3.4%) to Nitrospira (1.61% to 14.27%) was observed. A KEGG analysis indicated a decrease in cell growth and death, cell motility and energy metabolism. It appeared that NOB could adapt to PS-NPs stress through enhanced secretion and removal of oxidative damage. Overall, this study provided new insights into the response mechanism of NOB to PS-NPs exposure.

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