Inhibition of anaerobic wastewater treatment after long-term exposure to low levels of CuO nanoparticles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

CuO nanoparticles (NPs) are released into wastewater due to the widespread use and generation as by-product in various applications (e.g. semiconductor manufacturing). However, information on the behavior and impact of CuO NPs on wastewater treatment processes is very limited. The objective of this study was to evaluate the fate and long-term effect of CuO NPs (average size=37nm) on high-rate anaerobic bioreactors. A laboratory-scale upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor was operated with a synthetic wastewater containing low concentrations of CuO NPs (1.4mgCuL-1) and a mixture of volatile fatty acids for 107 days. CuO NPs were largely removed during anaerobic treatment and on the average only 20-32% of the NPs fed to the reactor escaped with the effluent. Scanning electron microscopy and chemical analysis confirmed that CuO NPs were partitioned into the anaerobic sludge. While short-term exposure to CuO NPs (1.4mgCuL-1) only caused minor inhibition to methanogenesis, extended exposure caused severe toxicity and reduced the acetoclastic methanogenic activity by more than 85%. Moreover, the reactor performance was completely disrupted and the methane production decreased by more than 50%. The study is the first to demonstrate a significant long-term effect of low levels of CuO NPs on methanogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-168
Number of pages9
JournalWater Research
Volume58
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2014

Fingerprint

Waste Water
Wastewater treatment
Nanoparticles
methanogenesis
Sewage
Wastewater
sludge
Volatile fatty acids
exposure
nanoparticle
wastewater treatment
wastewater
Semiconductors
Volatile Fatty Acids
Methane
Bioreactors
Electron Scanning Microscopy
bioreactor
chemical analysis
Byproducts

Keywords

  • Copper oxide
  • Engineered nanomaterials
  • Methanogenesis
  • Nanoparticle removal
  • Toxicity
  • UASB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Inhibition of anaerobic wastewater treatment after long-term exposure to low levels of CuO nanoparticles. / Otero-González, Lila; Field, James A; Sierra Alvarez, Maria Reye.

In: Water Research, Vol. 58, 01.07.2014, p. 160-168.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "CuO nanoparticles (NPs) are released into wastewater due to the widespread use and generation as by-product in various applications (e.g. semiconductor manufacturing). However, information on the behavior and impact of CuO NPs on wastewater treatment processes is very limited. The objective of this study was to evaluate the fate and long-term effect of CuO NPs (average size=37nm) on high-rate anaerobic bioreactors. A laboratory-scale upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor was operated with a synthetic wastewater containing low concentrations of CuO NPs (1.4mgCuL-1) and a mixture of volatile fatty acids for 107 days. CuO NPs were largely removed during anaerobic treatment and on the average only 20-32{\%} of the NPs fed to the reactor escaped with the effluent. Scanning electron microscopy and chemical analysis confirmed that CuO NPs were partitioned into the anaerobic sludge. While short-term exposure to CuO NPs (1.4mgCuL-1) only caused minor inhibition to methanogenesis, extended exposure caused severe toxicity and reduced the acetoclastic methanogenic activity by more than 85{\%}. Moreover, the reactor performance was completely disrupted and the methane production decreased by more than 50{\%}. The study is the first to demonstrate a significant long-term effect of low levels of CuO NPs on methanogenesis.",
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AB - CuO nanoparticles (NPs) are released into wastewater due to the widespread use and generation as by-product in various applications (e.g. semiconductor manufacturing). However, information on the behavior and impact of CuO NPs on wastewater treatment processes is very limited. The objective of this study was to evaluate the fate and long-term effect of CuO NPs (average size=37nm) on high-rate anaerobic bioreactors. A laboratory-scale upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor was operated with a synthetic wastewater containing low concentrations of CuO NPs (1.4mgCuL-1) and a mixture of volatile fatty acids for 107 days. CuO NPs were largely removed during anaerobic treatment and on the average only 20-32% of the NPs fed to the reactor escaped with the effluent. Scanning electron microscopy and chemical analysis confirmed that CuO NPs were partitioned into the anaerobic sludge. While short-term exposure to CuO NPs (1.4mgCuL-1) only caused minor inhibition to methanogenesis, extended exposure caused severe toxicity and reduced the acetoclastic methanogenic activity by more than 85%. Moreover, the reactor performance was completely disrupted and the methane production decreased by more than 50%. The study is the first to demonstrate a significant long-term effect of low levels of CuO NPs on methanogenesis.

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