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Understanding the antifouling mechanisms related to copper oxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles in anaerobic membrane bioreactors

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Abstract

Biofouling impedes the performance of anaerobic membrane bioreactors. In this study, we aim to determine if copper oxide (CuO) and zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles can effectively delay the biofouling of polyethersulfone (PES) membranes without disseminating emerging contaminants like antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and metal resistance genes (MRGs). A consequential decrease in biofilm composition related to total cells, polysaccharides, proteins, and bioactivity (i.e., adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and quorum sensing (QS) signal molecules) was observed in the presence of heavy metal nanoparticles. Metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analyses further attributed the delay of biofilm formation to the lower expression of QS-associated genes and biofilm formation genes. It was also determined that the expression of ARGs and MRGs was not stimulated in the presence of CuO and ZnO nanoparticles. These findings collectively suggest that CuO and ZnO nanoparticles embedded in membranes can delay biofouling with minimal potential for disseminating ARGs and MRGs post-treatment.

Graphical abstract: Understanding the antifouling mechanisms related to copper oxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles in anaerobic membrane bioreactors

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Publication details

The article was received on 31 Jul 2019, accepted on 28 Sep 2019 and first published on 30 Sep 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C9EN00872A
Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2019, Advance Article
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    Understanding the antifouling mechanisms related to copper oxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles in anaerobic membrane bioreactors

    H. Cheng, Q. Guan, L. F. Villalobos, K. Peinemann, A. Pain and P. Hong, Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C9EN00872A

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