Integrated Sonochemical and Microbial Treatment for Decontamination of Nonylphenol-Polluted Water

Research paper by Giancarlo Cravotto, Stefano Di Carlo, Arianna Binello, Stefano Mantegna, Mariangela Girlanda, Alexandra Lazzari

Indexed on: 17 Oct '07Published on: 17 Oct '07Published in: Water, Air, & Soil Pollution


Advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) are among the most efficient methods for wastewater treatment. To achieve the degradation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), AOPs have been developed that employ Fenton reactions promoted by ultrasound (US) or microwaves (MW). Integrated methods combining AOPs with biological treatments are also of great interest. The present paper describes such an integrated approach for the decontamination of water from nonylphenol (NP), a common pollutant that accumulates in aquatic organisms and is quite resistant to biodegradation. Polluted water (containing 1,000 ppm of NP) was sequentially subjected to a sonochemical Fenton reaction and biosorption by the filamentous fungus Paecilomyces lilacinus. Although these methods can be used separately, the sequential approach proved more advantageous. In 1 h the sonochemical oxidation, carried out in a 300 kHz US-reactor equipped with a cooling system, halved NP content in polluted water, as determined by GC-MS analysis. The water was then inoculated with pure cultures of the fungus, whose mycelial biomass further reduced NP content in 7 days. Thus an initial NP concentration of 1,000 ppm was reduced approximately by 90%.