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Biological Decolorization of Reactive Anthraquinone and Phthalocyanine Dyes Under Various Oxidation–Reduction Conditions

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The decolorization of two anthraquinone dyes (Reactive Blue 4 [RB4] and Reactive Blue 19 [RB19]) and two phthalocyanine dyes (Reactive Blue 7 [RB7] and Reactive Blue 21 [RB21]) was investigated at an initial dye concentration of 300 mg/L using an unacclimated, enrichment culture. The culture was fed a mixture of organic compounds and maintained initially under aerobic conditions, and then progressively developed anoxic/anaerobic conditions. Biotransformation-related decolorization of the dyes did not take place under aerobic conditions, but use of the feed organic mixture and biomass production by the enrichment culture were not affected. Complete ammonia removal occurred in the control and all dye-amended cultures. The development and extent of nitrification were much lower in the latter cultures, in which ammonia removal via air stripping was the dominant mechanism. Prolonged incubation of the culture under anoxic/anaerobic conditions with multiple carbon source additions resulted in a high decolorization extent of anthraquinone dyes (over 84%) and only partial decolorization of phthalocyanine dyes (49 to 66%). Development of significant methanogenic activity took place in the control and, to a lesser extent, in the two phthalocyanine dye-amended cultures, but the anthraquinone dyes severely inhibited the development of methanogenic activity. The RB4 and RB19 decolorization was attributed to nonreversible, microbially mediated dye transformation(s), demonstrated by the accumulation of decolorization products with absorbance maxima in the 420- to 460-nm region. The decolorization of RB4 and RB19 followed Michaelis-Menten kinetics. At an initial dye concentration of 300 mg/L, the observed maximum decolorization rate per unit biomass was 9.1 and 37.5 mg dye/mg volatile suspended solids·day for the RB4 and RB19, respectively. Thus, partial decolorization of reactive phthalocyanine dyes and extensive biological decolorization of reactive anthraquinone dyes is feasible only under anoxic/anaerobic conditions.

Keywords: biological decolorization; methanogenesis; nitrification; reactive anthraquinone dyes; reactive phthalocyanine dyes; textiles

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2006

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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