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Selenium speciation in anaerobic granular sludge

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Chromatographic (IC-CD, GC-FID) and spectroscopic (XRD) techniques that allow the specific determination of several selenium species present or formed during bioremediation processes of selenate contaminated drinking, ground, or wastewaters have been established. The developed techniques are shown to be applicable in determining selenium species in the range of target concentrations for emissions and are thus appropriate to characterize bioremediation processes. The applied techniques offer advantages regarding short analytical times without loss of satisfactory accurateness towards more sophisticated methods. By means of IC-CD, selenate and selenite can be detected specifically to concentrations far below allowance levels for metal finishing industries (20µgL −1 selenate, 40µgL −1 selenite) within 16.0min. Thus, the removal of selenate from the liquid phase by anaerobic granular sludge was quantified by IC-CD, and the concomitantly formed red precipitates were analysed by XRD. Hexagonal elemental selenium was found to be present in the XRD analysis. Even if the precipitate contained iron and zinc, as shown by ICP-OES, no iron- or zinc-containing selenium minerals were detected by XRD. The GC-FID method described determines dimethylselenide and dimethyldiselenide at a detection limit of 1ng and 2ng, respectively, without further chemical derivatization within 7.4min. Thus, the GC-FID offers adequate detection of two major volatile organic selenium species potentially formed during bioremediation of selenium contaminated waters.
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Keywords: Dimethyldiselenide; Dimethylselenide; Elemental selenium; Selenate; Selenite; UASB

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Environmental Technology, Wageningen University, 6700 EV Wageningen, The Netherlands

Publication date: August 10, 2006

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