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Title: Removal and effects of surfactants in activated sludge system
Authors: Mitru, Daniel
Nechifor, Gheorghe
Gheorghe, Stefania
Banciu, Alina
Ionescu, Lucian
Stoica, Catalina
Ionica, Daniela
Lucaciu, Irina
Keywords: Anionic surfactants
Non-ionic surfactants
Activated sludge
Flocs morphology
Issue Date: Jan-2020
Publisher: SYSCOM 18 SRL
Abstract: The widespread use of detergents has raised concern with regard to the environmental pollution caused by their active substances, which are biorefractory, toxic or persistent. Even though anionic and non-ionic surfactants often used in commercial detergents composition are reasonably degradable under aerobic conditions and not particularly toxic at low concentrations, high concentration of surfactants influenced the activated sludge activity and are harmful for the aquatic environment. In the literature, data on the biodegradability and/or ecotoxicity of a certain type of surfactant (anionic, nonionic, cationic) are usually presented. Our study aimed to assess the biodegradability of a mixture of two types of surfactants (anionic mixed with non-ionic) and also, effects caused by their presence of elevated concentrations to the activated sludge microorganisms, within a batch experiment. We performed a biodegradability test (according Zahn Wellens method) on 2 synthetic solutions with high concentrations of anionic surfactant –methyl dodecylbenzene sulfonate (15-25 mg/L) and non-ionic surfactant -4-nonylphenyl-polyethylene glycol (10 mg/L). The study established different percent of biodegradability (measured by COD decrease and surfactants removal) depending on initial concentrations of anionic and nonionic surfactants in the tested solutions. High surfactants concentrations modulated the activity and morphology of activated sludge, so its degradation efficiency of the organic substrate has decreased. Surfactant solutions resulting from biodegradability experiment have been tested for toxicity to planktonic crustaceans (Daphnia magna).
Description: Revista de Chimie, vol. 71, no. 1, 2020, pp. 100-106
ISSN: 1582-9049
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