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Journal of Environmental Sciences
Volume 118, 2022, Pages 140-146

Microbes team with nanoscale zero-valent iron: A robust route for degradation of recalcitrant pollutants

Nuo Liu, Jing Liu, Hong Wang, Shaolin Li, Wei-xian Zhang

State Key Laboratory for Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China.


Integrating nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) with biological treatment processes holds the promise of inheriting significant advantages from both environmental nano- and bio-technologies. nZVI and microbes can perform in coalition in direct contact and act simultaneously, or be maintained in separate reactors and operated sequentially. Both modes can generate enhanced performance for wastewater treatment and environmental remediation. nZVI scavenges and eliminates toxic metals, and enhances biodegradability of some recalcitrant contaminants while bioprocesses serve to mineralize organic compounds and further remove impurities from wastewater. This has been demonstrated in a number of recent works that nZVI can substantially augment the performance of conventional biological treatment for wastewaters from textile and nonferrous metal industries. Our recent laboratory and field tests show that COD of the industrial effluents can be reduced to a record-low of 50 ppm. Recent literature on the theory and applications of the nZVI-bio system is highlighted in this mini review.

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