Understanding and mitigating the distinctive stresses induced by diverse microplastics on anaerobic hydrogen-producing granular sludge.

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Journal Article
J Hazard Mater, 2022, 440, pp. 129771
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This work comparatively studied the different stress responses of anaerobic hydrogen-producing granular sludge (HPG) to several typical MPs in wastewater, i.e., polyethylene (PE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) MPs. A new approach to mitigating the inhibition caused by MPs based on biochar was then proposed. The results displayed that microbe in HPG had diverse tolerances to PE-MPs, PET-MPs and PVC-MPs, with the hydrogen production downgraded to 82.0 ± 3.2 %, 72.3 ± 2.5 % and 66.6 ± 2.3 % (p < 0.05) of control respectively, due to the distinct leachates toxicities and oxidative stress level induced by different MPs. The discrepant mitigation reflected in the hydrogen yields of biochar-based HPGs raised back to 88.7 ± 1.4 %, 85.3 ± 3.8 % and 88.5 ± 3.5 % of control. The MPs induced disintegrated granule morphology, fragile microbial viability and impaired defensive function of extracellular polymeric substances were restored by biochar. The effective mitigation was revealed to be due to the strong adsorption of MPs by biochar, reducing direct contact between microbes and MPs. Biochar addition also enhanced protection for HPG by increasing EPS secretion and weakened the oxidative damage to anaerobes induced by MPs. Biochar manifested the disparate adsorption properties of three MPs. The most superior mitigation in HPG contaminated by PVC-MPs was attributed to the strongest affinity of biochar to PVC-MPs and effective alleviation of PVC leachates toxicity.
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