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Issue 3, 2019
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Emerging investigator series: photocatalysis for MBR effluent post-treatment: assessing the effects of effluent organic matter characteristics

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Abstract

Dissolved organic matter (DOM) poses a serious challenge to applied photocatalysis. Membranes may offer a promising synergistic opportunity to enable efficient photocatalysis in the presence of DOM. Membrane bioreactor (MBR) effluent from a municipal treatment plant was studied to elucidate the effects of filtration and organic matter composition on photocatalysis. Effluent samples were collected from MBR units during routine operation and before/after chemical cleaning. Additional DOM samples from the bulk supernatant were separated into colloidal, hydrophobic and transphilic fractions, providing a novel examination of the inhibition potential of DOM. These DOM fractions and the effluent organic matter (EfOM) samples were then characterized utilizing three-dimensional excitation–emission matrix (3DEEM) fluorescence spectroscopy and assayed for their potential to inhibit TiO2-mediated photocatalytic degradation of a probe compound, para-chlorobenzoic acid (pCBA). The colloidal fraction of DOM was found to exert the strongest inhibition, followed by the transphilic, then the hydrophobic fractions; at 5 mgC L−1, these fractions reduced the photodegradation rates by approximately 75%, 27%, and 17%, respectively. Of the effluent samples, EfOM from the recently-cleaned membrane caused the greatest inhibition of photocatalysis (∼100% reduction at 0.5 to 2.0 mgC L−1), whereas the effluent from the fouled membrane provided the least inhibition (∼33% reduction at 2.0 mgC L−1). The 3DEEM analysis predicted inhibitory action of both DOM and EfOM, based on total fluorescence volumes. Results here demonstrate the prospective utility of combining membrane technologies with photocatalytic processes.

Graphical abstract: Emerging investigator series: photocatalysis for MBR effluent post-treatment: assessing the effects of effluent organic matter characteristics

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Oct 2018, accepted on 07 Jan 2019 and first published on 07 Jan 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8EW00734A
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., 2019,5, 482-494

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    Emerging investigator series: photocatalysis for MBR effluent post-treatment: assessing the effects of effluent organic matter characteristics

    M. Maghsoodi, C. Jacquin, B. Teychené, M. Heran, V. V. Tarabara, G. Lesage and S. D. Snow, Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., 2019, 5, 482
    DOI: 10.1039/C8EW00734A

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