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Fluorescence quotient of excitation–emission matrices as a potential indicator of organic matter behavior in membrane bioreactors

Abstract

The potential of using excitation–emission matrix (EEM) fluorescence spectroscopy in revealing organic matter properties has yet to be fully exploited. A fluorescence quotient (FQ) method was established to graphically compare different EEM spectra, and hence to reflect the differential properties of organic matter in a wastewater treatment process on the basis of EEM. FQ is defined as a standardized element-wise quotient of two EEM spectra for organic matter in different states (e.g. before and after degradation) or in different forms (e.g. in sludge, in supernatant, or on membranes as foulants). This method was applied to two full-scale membrane bioreactors, with multiple FQs calculated among the influent organics, sludge supernatant organics, extracellular polymeric substances, and membrane foulants. Statistical analyses confirmed that the distribution of FQ as a function of fluorescence excitation and emission wavelengths was significantly meaningful in highlighting the differential EEM characteristics, which enabled clear depiction of the active regions for the different organics on an excitation–emission map. This might therefore indicate the differential propensity for a specific behavior of organic matter (such as biotransformation, sludge/water-phase distribution, and membrane fouling) from the perspective of EEM. The FQ method provides a potential tool for EEM data exploitation to reflect organic matter behaviors in wastewater treatment processes.

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Publication details

The article was received on 25 Jul 2017, accepted on 28 Nov 2017 and first published on 29 Nov 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7EW00270J
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Fluorescence quotient of excitation–emission matrices as a potential indicator of organic matter behavior in membrane bioreactors

    K. Xiao, S. Liang, A. Xiao, T. Lei, J. Tan, X. Wang and X. Huang, Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7EW00270J

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