Synergy of Granular Activated Carbon and Anaerobic Mixed Culture in Phenol Bioremediation of Aqueous Solution

Document Type: Original Article


Department of Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering Faculty, Babol Noshirvani University of Technology, Babol, Iran


The present study focused on the synergistic effects bioremediation of phenol in aqueous solution using combination of anaerobic mixed culture and Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) as a biological GAC (BGAC). Meanwhile, the effect of contact time and various phenol concentrations on adsorption and biosorption process investigated. The phenol concentration was analyzed using UV/Vis spectrophotometer. The morphology and structure of two adsorbents (GAC and BGAC) were characterized by FESEM and BET specific surface area analysis. The batch experiments using mixed bacterial culture, isolated from wood and paper factory wastewater, were adapted to high concentrations of phenol and employed in order to evaluate the tolerance and biosorption capability of microorganisms for phenol biodegradation. The synergetic effect of phenol removal using combination of GAC with an anaerobic biofilm indicated that the removal efficiency for concentration of 700, 800, and 1000 mg/l at initial stages increased to 4, 10, and 12%, respectively and while by increment of the retention time did not shown significant impact on the removal efficiency. These results conducted both desorption of adsorbates due to biotransformation in the aqueous solution and direct assimilation of adsorbates on GAC by the microorganism’s biofilm. The adsorption data were fitted with pseudo-first-order and pseudo-second-order models and it was found that the pseudo-second-order model explains the adsorption kinetics more efficiently. The compatibility of the Freundlich and Langmuir adsorption models to equilibrium data were investigated. In fact, the Langmuir isotherm was found to be the best fitting isotherm.


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