Synergic Adsorption–Biodegradation by an Advanced Carrier for Enhanced Removal of High-Strength Nitrogen and Refractory Organics

Muhammad Ahmad, Sitong Liu, Nasir Mahmood, Asif Mahmood, Muhammad Ali, Maosheng Zheng, Jinren Ni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Coking wastewater contains not only high-strength nitrogen but also toxic biorefractory organics. This study presents simultaneous removal of high-strength quinoline, carbon, and ammonium in coking wastewater by immobilized bacterial communities composed of a heterotrophic strain Pseudomonas sp. QG6 (hereafter referred as QG6), ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), and anaerobic ammonium oxidation bacteria (anammox). The bacterial immobilization was implemented with the help of a self-designed porous cubic carrier that created structured microenvironments including an inner layer adapted for anaerobic bacteria, a middle layer suitable for coaggregation of certain aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, and an outer layer for heterotrophic bacteria. By coating functional polyurethane foam (FPUF) with iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs), the biocarrier (IONPs-FPUF) could provide a good outer-layer barrier for absorption and selective treatment of aromatic compounds by QG6, offer a conducive environment for anammox in the inner layer, and provide a mutualistic environment for AOB in the middle layer. Consequently, simultaneous nitrification and denitrification were reached with the significant removal of up to 322 mg L (98%) NH, 311 mg L (99%) NO, and 633 mg L (97%) total nitrogen (8 mg L averaged NO concentration was recorded in the effluent), accompanied by an efficient removal of chemical oxygen demand by 3286 mg L (98%) and 350 mg L (100%) quinoline. This study provides an alternative way to promote synergic adsorption and biodegradation with the help of a modified biocarrier that has great potential for treatment of wastewater containing high-strength carbon, toxic organic pollutants, and nitrogen.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13188-13200
Number of pages13
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 6 2017


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