Silica nanoparticle inhibition of oxygen uptake rate in activated sludge

Silica nanoparticle inhibition of oxygen uptake rate in activated sludge
silica based nano particles; activated sludge; wastewater treatment; biological activity; cell membrane
Issue Date
Challenges in Environmental Science & Engineering, CESE-2010
Increases in the use of various nano materials may lead to the presence of nano particles in the incoming wastewater and consequently entering biological wastewater treatment process. However the impact of the nano particles on biological wastewater treatment is yet to be estimated. In this research fluorescent silica based nano particles were used to investigate the fate of silica based nano particles in activated sludge and their effects on the biological activity. The fate of nano particles was observed by using TEM after carefully blending the dispersed nano particles with activated sludge samples. The nano particles with the size of less than 200nm either were infiltrated within the microbial cell membrane as well as adsorbed onto the cell surface. Most of nano particles were incorporated with microorganisms in activated sludge and thus no significant nano particles remained in the bulk solution. Incorporation of nano particles with activated sludge probably caused changes in the structure of microbial cell membrane and biological activity. Phospholipids in the cell membrane were analyzed by using fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) analysis. The biological activity of the activated sludge was assessed by oxygen uptake rates (OURs). Similar to the FAME results, there was a significant change in the OURs of the activated sludge after addition of the nano particles demonstrating that the nano particles potentially affect the biological activity.
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