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Biodegradation of Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate by a Wastewater Microbial Consortium

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Biodegradation of an amphoteric surfactant commonly used in personal care products, disodium cocoamphodiacetate (DSCADA), was evaluated. Results from respirometry experiments indicated that high levels of DSCADA (>216 mg/L) may be toxic to bacteria in wastewater treatment processes. Limited biodegradation, with 50% dissolved organic carbon (DOC) removal and 80% chemical oxygen demand removal was observed in batch assays, while complete removal of the parent compound, DSCADA, was noted. Oxygen biosensors were used to evaluate biodegradability of the metabolites present in the batch samples. Additional aerobic microbial activity was not detected in these samples, even with a residual DOC of approximately 45 mg/L. Results from this research indicate that biodegradability of DSCADA is limited and recalcitrant metabolites may be formed. Because DSCADA is a commonly used surfactant and is present in domestic and industrial wastewater, the associated risk posed by residual compounds should be carefully evaluated.

Keywords: amphoteric surfactant; biodegradation; disodium cocoamphodiacetate; graywater; metabolite

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2008-03-01

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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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