Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

ISSN 2095-2201

ISSN 2095-221X(Online)

CN 10-1013/X

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Reduction of hexavalent chromium with scrap iron in a fixed bed reactor
Yin WANG, Xuejiang WANG, Xin WANG, Mian LIU, Siqing XIA, Daqiang YIN, Yalei ZHANG, Jianfu ZHAO
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2012, 6 (6): 761-769.

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The reduction of hexavalent chromium by scrap iron was investigated in continuous long-term fixed bed system. The effects of pH, empty bed contact time (EBCT), and initial Cr(VI) concentration on Cr(VI) reduction were studied. The results showed that the pH, EBCT, and initial Cr(VI) concentration significantly affected the reduction capacity of scrap iron. The reduction capacity of scrap iron were 4.56, 1.51, and 0.57 mg Cr(VI)·g-1 Fe0 at pH 3, 5, and 7 (initial Cr(VI) concentration 4 mg·L-1, EBCT 2 min, and temperature 25°C), 0.51, 1.51, and 2.85 mg Cr(VI)·g-1 Fe0 at EBCTs of 0.5, 2.0, and 6.0 min (initial Cr(VI) concentration 4 mg·L-1, pH 5, and temperature 25°C), and 2.99, 1.51, and 1.01 mg Cr(VI)·g-1 Fe0 at influent concentrations of 1, 4, and 8 mg·L-1 (EBCT 2 min, pH 5, and temperature 25°C), respectively. Fe(total) concentration in the column effluent continuously decreased in time, due to a decrease in time of the iron corrosion rate. The fixed bed reactor can be readily used for the treatment of drinking water containing low amounts of Cr(VI) ions, although the hardness and humic acid in water may shorten the lifetime of the reactor, the reduction capacity of scrap iron still achieved 1.98 mg Cr6+·g-1 Fe. Scanning electron microscope equipped with energy dispersion spectrometer and X-ray diffraction were conducted to examine the surface species of the scrap iron before and after its use. In addition to iron oxides and hydroxide species, iron-chromium complex was also observed on the reacted scrap iron.

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Detecting N-nitrosamines in water treatment plants and distribution systems in China using ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry
Chengkun WANG, Xiaojian ZHANG, Jun WANG, Chao CHEN
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2012, 6 (6): 770-777.

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N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and several other N-nitrosamines have been detected as disinfection by-products in drinking waters in many countries around the world. An ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method with solid phase extraction sample preparation was developed to study the occurrence of N-nitrosamines in several water treatment plants and distribution systems in China. Isotope labeled N-nitrosodi-n-propylamine-d14 (NDPA-d14) was selected as the internal standard for quantification. The solid phase extraction procedures including pH, enrichment process and MS/MS parameters including capillary voltage, cone gas flow, cone voltage, collision energy were optimized to give average recoveries of 26% to 112% for nine N-nitrosamine species. The instrument detection limits were estimated to range from 0.5 to 5 μg·L-1 for the nine N-nitrosamine species. NDMA and several other N-nitrosamines were found at fairly high concentrations in several water treatment plants and distribution systems. NDMA was found in all locations, and the highest concentrations in cities B, G, T, and W were 3.0, 35.7, 21.3, and 19.7 ng·L-1, respectively. A wide range of N-nitrosamines concentrations and species were observed in different locations. Higher concentrations of N-nitrosamines were detected in distribution systems that were further away from the treatment plants, suggesting that the contact time between the residual disinfectant and natural organic matter may play an important role in the formation of these compounds.

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Abiotic association of phthalic acid esters with humic acid of a sludge landfill
Xiaoli CHAI, Yongxia HAO, Xin ZHAO, Guixiang LIU, Ying ZHU, Rong JI, Jun WU, Huanhuan TONG, Youcai ZHAO
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2012, 6 (6): 778-783.

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The abiotic association between phthalic acid esters (PAEs) and humic substances (HS) in sludge landfill plays an important role in the fate and stability of PAEs. An equilibrium dialysis combined with 14C-labeling was used to study the abiotic association of two abundant PAEs (diethyl phthalate and di-n-butyl phthalate) with humic acid (HA) isolated from a sludge landfill with different stabilization times and different molecular weights. Elemental analysis and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrophotometer (FTIR) suggested that high KA value of HA was related to the high aromatic content and large molecular weight of HA. The results indicated that the association strength of PAEs with HA depended on both the properties of the PAEs and the characteristics of HA. The KA values of the association were strongly dependent on solution pH, and decreased dramatically as the pH was increased from 3.0 to 9.0. The results suggested that non-specific hydrophobic interaction between PAEs and HA was the main contributor to the association of the PAEs with HA. The interactive hydrogen-bonds between the HA and the PAEs molecules may also be involved in the association.

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Fluorescence spectroscopic studies of the effect of granular activated carbon adsorption on structural properties of dissolved organic matter fractions
Shuang XUE, Qingliang ZHAO, Liangliang WEI, Xiujuan HUI, Xiping MA, Yingzi LIN
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2012, 6 (6): 784-796.

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This work investigated the effect of granular activated carbon adsorption (GACA) on fluorescence characteristics of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in secondary effluent, by means of excitation–emission matrix (EEM) spectra, the fluorescence regional integration (FRI) method, synchronous spectra, the fluorescence index defined as the ratio of fluorescence emission intensity at wavelength 450 nm to that at 500 nm at excitation (λex)=370 nm, and the wavelength that corresponds to the position of the normalized emission band at its half intensity (λ0.5). DOM in the secondary effluent from the North Wastewater Treatment Plant (Shenyang, China) was fractionated using XAD resins into 5 fractions: hydrophobic acid (HPO–A), hydrophobic neutral (HPO–N), transphilic acid (TPI–A), transphilic neutral (TPI–N) and hydrophilic fraction (HPI). Results showed that fluorescent materials in HPO–N and TPI–N were less readily removed than those in the other fractions by GACA. The relative content of fluorescent materials in HPO–A, TPI–A and HPI decreased whereas that in HPO–N and TPI–N increased as a consequence of GACA. Polycyclic aromatics in all DOM fractions were preferentially absorbed by GACA, in comparison with bulk DOM expressed as DOC. On the other hand, the adsorption of aromatic amino acids and humic acid-like fluorophores exhibiting fluorescence peaks in synchronous spectra by GACA seemed to be dependent on the acid/neutral properties of DOM fractions. All five fractions had decreased fluorescence indices as a result of GACA. GACA led to a decreased λ0.5 value for HPO–A, increased λ0.5 values for HPO–N, TPI–A and HPI, and a consistent λ0.5 value for TPI–N.

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Microbial community and functional genes in the rhizosphere of alfalfa in crude oil-contaminated soil
Yi ZHONG, Jian WANG, Yizhi SONG, Yuting LIANG, Guanghe LI
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2012, 6 (6): 797-805.

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A rhizobox system constructed with crude oil-contaminated soil was vegetated with alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) to evaluate the rhizosphere effects on the soil microbial population and functional structure, and to explore the potential mechanisms by which plants enhance the removal of crude oil in soil. During the 80-day experiment, 31.6% of oil was removed from the adjacent rhizosphere (AR); this value was 27% and 53% higher than the percentage of oil removed from the far rhizosphere (FR) and from the non-rhizosphere (NR), respectively. The populations of heterotrophic bacteria and hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria were higher in the AR and FR than in the NR. However, the removal rate of crude oil was positively correlated with the proportion of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria in the rhizosphere. In total, 796, 731, and 379 functional genes were detected by microarray in the AR, FR, and NR, respectively. Higher proportions of functional genes related to carbon degradation and organic remediation, were found in rhizosphere soil compared with NR soil, suggesting that the rhizosphere selectively increased the abundance of these specific functional genes. The increase in water-holding capacity and decrease in pH as well as salinity of the soil all followed the order of AR>FR>NR. Canonical component analysis showed that salinity was the most important environmental factor influencing the microbial functional structure in the rhizosphere and that salinity was negatively correlated with the abundance of carbon and organic degradation genes.

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Decolorization of azo dyes by a salt-tolerant Staphylococcus cohnii strain isolated from textile wastewater
Bin YAN, Cuihong DU, Meilan XU, Wenchao LIAO
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2012, 6 (6): 806-814.

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The salt-tolerant Staphylococcus cohnii strain, isolated from textile wastewater, has been found effective on decolorizing several kinds of azo dyes with different structures. The optimal conditions for azo dye acid red B (ARB) decolorization by S. cohnii were determined to be pH= 7.0 and 30°C. The decolorization efficiency increased with the increase of the salinity concentration, and around 90% of ARB (100 mg·L-1) could be decolorized in 24 h when the salinity concentration was up to 50 g·L-1. Moreover, the strain could still decolorize 19% of ARB in 24 h even when the NaCl concentration was increased to 150 g·L-1. Meanwhile, the dependence of the specific decolorization rate by S. cohnii on the ARB concentration could be described with Michaelis-Menten kinetics (Km = 585.7 mg·L-1, Vmax = 109.8 mg·g cell-1·h-1). The addition of quinone redox mediator, named 2-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone and anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonate, significantly accelerated the decolorization performance of S. cohnii. Furtherly, the activities of azoreductase (0.55 μmol·mg protein-1·min-1) and Nicotineamide adenine dinucleotide-dichlorophenol indophenol (NADH-DCIP) reductase (8.9 μmol·mg protein-1·min-1) have been observed in the crude cell extracts of S. cohnii. The decolorization products of ARB were analyzed by HPLC-MS, and the results indicated the reductive pathway was responsible for azo dye decolorization by S. cohnii.

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A two-dimensional numerical model for eutrophication in Baiyangdian Lake
Xudong WANG, Shushen ZHANG, Suling LIU, Jingwen CHEN
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2012, 6 (6): 815-824.

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Hydrodynamic, physical, and biochemical processes in the Baiyangdian Lake water environment were analyzed comprehensively. An eutrophication eco-dynamics model including the effects of reed resistance on flow was coupled with the hydrodynamics governing equations. An improvement on the Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program (WASP, a modeling system introduced by the US Environmental Protection Agency) is established, which uses the zooplankton kinetic equation. The model simulates water quality constituents associated with eutrophication in the lake, including phytoplankton, zooplankton, nitrogen, phosphorus, dissolved oxygen, and others. Various kinetic coefficients were calibrated using measured data or information from relevant literature, to study eutrophication in the lake. The values calculated by the calibrated model agree well with field data, including ammonia nitrogen, total nitrogen, total phosphorus and dissolved oxygen. Changes related to nutrition and dissolved oxygen during the processes were simulated. The present model describes the temporal variation of water quality in Baiyangdian Lake with reasonable accuracy. Deviations between model-simulated and observed values are discussed. As an ideal tool for environmental management of the lake, this model can be used to predict its water quality, and be used in research to examine the eutrophication process.

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Dynamic behavior of stormwater quality parameters in South Texas
Xubin PAN, Jingyi ZHANG, Wei-Ta FANG, Kim D. JONES
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2012, 6 (6): 825-830.

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To control water impairment in urban stormwater, it is important to evaluate changing patterns of water quality parameters in stormwater runoff. Thus, the authors performed a series of experiments to investigate the dynamics of common water parameters during storm events in semi-arid areas, with multiple samples collected and analyzed in field stormwater applications. At this field monitoring site within McAuliffe Park, McAllen, Texas, in the United States, a storm event increased the concentrations of Escherichia coli (E. coli), but this event represented a decreasing trend over the entire event period. Besides, peak intensity of different pollutants in the stormwater runoff occurred at different times other than at any peak flows, representing a complexity of the temporal and spatial measurements. Multi-sample per-event approaches recommended based on the complexity of the hydrograph and different peak intensity times of pollutants. In addition, high bacteria and total suspended solids (TSS) concentrations in the initial stage of the storm event should be considered when designing Best Management Practices (BMPs) and Low Impact Developments (LIDs). New strategies and solutions for addressing ecohydrological challenges should be proposed to avoid collateral damages to their both common wealth in ecosystems and human well-beings.

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Rapid method for on-site determination of phenolic contaminants in water using a disposable biosensor
Yuanting LI, Dawei LI, Wei SONG, Meng LI, Jie ZOU, Yitao LONG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2012, 6 (6): 831-838.

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A disposable biosensor was fabricated using single-walled carbon nanotubes, gold nanoparticles and tyrosinase (SWCNTs-AuNPs-Tyr) modified screen-printed electrodes. The prepared biosensor was applied to the rapid determination of phenolic contaminants within 15 minutes. The SWCNTs-AuNPs-Tyr bionanocomposite sensing layer was characterized with scanning electron microscopy, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and cyclic voltammetry methods. The characterization results revealed that SWCNTs could lead to a high loading of tyrosinase (Tyr) with the large surface area and the porous morphology, while AuNPs could retain the bioactivity of Tyr and enhance the sensitivity. The detection conditions, including working potential, pH of supporting electrolyte and the amount of Tyr were optimumed. As an example, the biosensor for catechol determination displayed a linear range of 8.0 × 10-8 to 2.0 × 10-5 mol·L-1 with a detection limit of 4.5 × 10-8 mol·L-1 (S/N = 3). This method has a rapid response time within 10 s, and shows excellent repeatability and stability. Moreover, the resulting biosensor could be disposable, low-cost, reliable and easy to carry. This kind of new Tyr biosensor provides great potential for rapid, on-site and cost-effective analysis of phenolic contaminants in environmental water samples.

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Hazard and vulnerability evaluation of water distribution system in cases of contamination intrusion accidents
Kunlun XIN, Tao TAO, Yong WANG, Suiqing LIU
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2012, 6 (6): 839-848.

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In this paper, it proposed an index system for hazard and vulnerability evaluations of water distribution networks, based on the simulation of contamination events caused by pollutant injections at different junctions. It attempted to answer the following two questions in the case of contamination events: 1) Which are the most hazardous junctions? 2) Which are the most vulnerable junctions? With EPANET toolkit, it simulated the propagation of the contaminant, and calculated the peak concentration of the contaminant and mass delivered at different nodes. According to types of consumers, different weights were assigned to the consumer nodes for assessing the influence of the contaminant on the consumers. Using the method proposed herein, both the hazard index and vulnerability index were calculated for each node in the pipe network. The presented method was therefore applied to the water network of the city of Zhenjiang, which contains two water plants, two booster pump stations with storage tanks. In conclusion, the response time, the relationships between the peak concentration of contaminant and the total absorption are the most important factors in hazard and vulnerability evaluation of the water distribution network.

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An assessment of China-Japan-Korea Free Trade Agreement’s economic and environmental impacts on China
Zhaoyang LIU, Xianqiang MAO, Wei TANG, Tao HU, Peng SONG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2012, 6 (6): 849-859.

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Recently, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea (Korea) are conducting a government-commissioned feasibility study on the Free Trade Agreement among the three countries (CJKFTA) to form a regional free trade zone in East Asia. Considering that freer trade can cause unexpected impact on domestic environment, there is a need to evaluate the environmental impact of such a trade policy. This move should be made to help negotiators understand and pay more attention to environmental issues during CJKFTA negotiations, and to help lobby with the government to carry out appropriate policy instruments for adaptation or mitigation. Following the Chain Reaction Assessment Method that integrates and links the elements of trade, production, and environment, the present research aims to quantitatively assess CJKFTA’s possible impact on China’s environment. This is done by estimating the variations of China’s major conventional pollutants and greenhouse gases (GHGs) emission in two policy scenarios to represent CJKFTA’s scale and composition effects on China’s environment. Estimating the variations is based on a static Computable General Equilibrium model, working with Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) 7 database and China’s energy-environment statistics. Based on these assessments, CJKFTA is predicted to lead to notable environmental impact, including increased emissions of agricultural total nitrogen, agricultural total phosphorus, chemical oxygen demand, and GHGs. On the other hand, decreased emissions of industrial SO2 and dust are also expected to happen. Suitable policies need to be made to combat negative effects and amplify positive ones, while aiming at a more sustainable regional freer trade system.

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The influencing factors of the WTP for the risk reduction of chemical industry accidents in China
Lei HUANG, Zhijuan SHAO, Weiliang BAO, Bailing DUAN, Jun BI, Zengwei YUAN
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2012, 6 (6): 860-868.

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To explore the factors that influence respondents’ willingness to pay (WTP) for the risk reduction of chemical industry accidents, a questionnaire survey combined with contingent valuation and psychometric paradigm methods were conducted in the city of Yancheng, Jiangsu Province, China. Both traditional socioeconomic variables and perceived characteristics of the hazards were considered in this study, and a Tobit model was used to find the factors influencing WTP under three risk reduction scenarios. The results showed that three demographic characteristics, age, gender, and income, significantly affected the WTP for chemical risk reduction. In addition, three extracted public risk perception factors, effect, knowledge, and trust, also strongly affected the WTP. The mean WTP value increased as the magnitude of the risk reduction increased. The number of factors influencing the WTP decreased as the reduction level improved, and only the effect factor had a significant influence on the WTP for a higher level (80%) of risk reduction. The cost for chemical safety management of Yancheng was calculated, and the optimized risk reduction level was determined. These findings can assist governments and policy makers to formulate suitable strategies for risk control, to reach target groups of people to develop effective communication, and to provide specific references for the best investment for the security of local residents.

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Enhanced electrokinetic remediation of chromium-contaminated soil using approaching anodes
Shucai LI, Tingting LI, Gang LI, Fengmei LI, Shuhai GUO
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2012, 6 (6): 869-874.

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As a new technology used for the cleaning of chromium-contaminated soil, worldwide interest in eletrokinetic (EK) remediation has grown considerably in recent times. However, owing to the fact that chromium exists as both cationic and anionic species in the soil, it is not an efficient method. This paper reports upon a study in which a process using approaching anodes (AAs) was used to enhance the removal efficiency of chromium by eletrokinetics. Two bench-scale experiments to remove chromium from contaminated soil were performed, one using a fixed anode (FA) and the other using AAs. In the AAs experiment, the anode moved toward the cathode by 7 cm every three days. After remediation, soil pH, total chromium, and fractionation of chromium in the soil were determined. The average removal efficiency of total chromium was 11.32% and 18.96% in the FA and AAs experiments, respectively. After remediation, acidic soil conditions throughout the soil were generated through the use of AAs, while 80% of the soil remained neutral or alkalic when using the FA approach. The acidic soil environment and high field intensity in the AAs experiment might have favored chromium desorption, dissolution and dissociation from the soil, plus the mobility of chromium in the soil was also enhanced. The results demonstrate that AAs used in the process of EK remediation can enhance the efficiency of chromium removal from soil.

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Performance of an ANAMMOX reactor treating wastewater generated by antibiotic and starch production processes
Hong YAO, Hao LIU, Yongmiao HE, Shujun ZHANG, Peizhe SUN, Chinghua HUANG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2012, 6 (6): 875-883.

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A pilot-scale anaerobic ammonia oxidation (ANAMMOX) reactor was used to treat mixed wastewater resulting from a chlortetracycline and starch production process. The results, collected over the course of 272 days, show that the ratio of influent ammonium to nitrite, pH, and temperature can all affect the efficiency of nitrogen removal. The ratio of influent ammonium to nitrite was maintained at about 1:1 at a concentration below 200 mg·L-1 for both influent ammonium and nitrite. The total nitrogen (TN) loading rate was 0.15–0.30 kgN·m-3·d-1, pH remained at 7.8–8.5, and temperature was recorded at 33±1°C. The rate of removal of ammonia, nitrite, and TN were over 90%, 90%, and 80%, and the effluent ammonium, nitrite and TN concentrations were below 50, 30, and 100 mg·L-1.

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Control of sludge settleability and nitrogen removal under low dissolved oxygen condition
Zhaoxu PENG, Yongzhen PENG, Zhenbo YU, Xuliang LIU, Xiaoling LI, Randeng WANG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2012, 6 (6): 884-891.

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Low dissolved oxygen (DO) is an energy-saving condition in activated sludge process. To investigate the possible application of limited filamentous bulking (LFB) in sequencing batch reactor (SBR), two lab-scale SBRs were used to treat synthetic domestic wastewater and real municipal wastewater, respectively. The results showed that prolonging low DO aeration duration and setting pre-anoxic (anaerobic) phase were effective strategies to induce and inhibit filamentous sludge bulking, respectively. According to the sludge settleability, LFB could be maintained steadily by adjusting operation patterns. Filamentous bacteria content and sludge volume index (SVI) were likely correlated. SVI fluctuated dramatically within a few cycles when around 200 mL·g-1, where altering operation pattern could change sludge settleability in spite of the unstable status of activated sludge system. Energy consumption by aeration reduced under low DO LFB condition, whereas the nitrification performance deteriorated. However, short-cut nitrification and simultaneous nitrification denitrification (SND) were prone to take place under such conditions. When the cycle time kept constant, the anoxic (anaerobic) to aerobic time ratio was determining factor to the SND efficiency. Similarity keeping aerobic time as constant, the variation trends of SND efficiency and specific SND rate were uniform. SBR is a promising reactor to apply the LFB process in practice.

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Optimization of process parameters for mature landfill leachate pretreatment using MAP precipitation
Wei LI, Xiaowen DING, Min LIU, Yuewen GUO, Lei LIU
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2012, 6 (6): 892-900.

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Chemical precipitation is a useful technology as a pretreatment to treat mature landfill leachate with high concentrations of ammonium-nitrogen (NH4+-N) and refractory organic compounds. Orthogonal experiments and factorial experiments were carried out to determine the optimal conditions enhancing the magnesium ammonium phosphate (MAP) precipitation process, and the experimental results demonstrated that the removal rate of NH4+-N was more than 85% when MgO and NaH2PO4·2H2O were applied as external sources of magnesium and phosphorous under the optimal conditions that molar ratio n(Mg)∶n(N)∶n(P) = 1.4∶1∶0.8, reaction time 60 min, original pH of leachate and settling time 30 min. In the precipitation process, pH could be maintained at the optimal range of 8–9.5 because MgO could release hydroxide ions to consume hydrogen ions. Calcium ions and carbonate ions existed in the leachate could affect the precipitation process, which resulted in the decrease of NH4+-N removal efficiency. The residues of MAP sediments decomposed by heating under alkaline conditions can be reused as the sources of phosphorous and magnesium for the removal of high concentrations of NH4+-N, and up to 90% of ammonium could be released under molar ratio of n[OH]∶n[MAP] = 2.5∶1, heating temperature 90°C and heating time 2h.

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Effect of different gas releasing methods on anaerobic fermentative hydrogen production in batch cultures
Sheng CHANG, Jianzheng LI, Feng LIU, Ze YU
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2012, 6 (6): 901-906.

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Decreasing hydrogen partial pressure can not only increase the activity of the hydrogen enzyme but also decrease the products inhibition, so it is an appropriate method to enhance the fermentative hydrogen production from anaerobic mixed culture. The effect of biogas release method on anaerobic fermentative hydrogen production in batch culture system was compared, i.e., Owen method with intermediately release, continuous releasing method, and continuous releasing+ CO2 absorbing. The experimental results showed that, at 35°C, initial pH 7.0 and glucose concentration of 10 g·L-1, the hydrogen production was only 28 mL when releasing gas by Owen method, while it increased two times when releasing the biogas continuously. The cumulative hydrogen production could reach 155 mL when carbon dioxide in the gas stream was continuously absorbed by 1 mol·L-1 NaOH. The results showed that acetate was dominated, accounting for 43% in the dissolved fermentation products in Owen method, whereas the butyrate predominated and reached 47%–53% of the total liquid end products when releasing gas continuously. It is concluded that the homoacetogenesis could be suppressed when absorbing CO2 in the gas phase in fermentative hydrogen production system.

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17 articles