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Novel Dual Stage Membrane Bioreactor for the Continuous Remediation of Electroplating Wastewater

Authors: B. A. Q. Santos, S. K. O. Ntwampe, G. Muchatibaya


In this study, the designed dual stage membrane bioreactor (MBR) system was conceptualized for the treatment of cyanide and heavy metals in electroplating wastewater. The design consisted of a primary treatment stage to reduce the impact of fluctuations and the secondary treatment stage to remove the residual cyanide and heavy metal contaminants in the wastewater under alkaline pH conditions. The primary treatment stage contained hydrolyzed Citrus sinensis (C. sinensis) pomace and the secondary treatment stage contained active Aspergillus awamori (A. awamori) biomass, supplemented solely with C. sinensis pomace extract from the hydrolysis process. An average of 76.37%, 95.37%, 93.26 and 94.76% and 99.55%, 99.91%, 99.92% and 99.92% degradation efficiency for total cyanide (T-CN), including the sorption of nickel (Ni), zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) were observed after the first and second treatment stages, respectively. Furthermore, cyanide conversion by-products degradation was 99.81% and 99.75 for both formate (CHOO-) and ammonium (NH4 +) after the second treatment stage. After the first, second and third regeneration cycles of the C. sinensis pomace in the first treatment stage, Ni, Zn and Cu removal achieved was 99.13%, 99.12% and 99.04% (first regeneration cycle), 98.94%, 98.92% and 98.41% (second regeneration cycle) and 98.46 %, 98.44% and 97.91% (third regeneration cycle), respectively. There was relatively insignificant standard deviation detected in all the measured parameters in the system which indicated reproducibility of the remediation efficiency in this continuous system.

Keywords: Aspergillus awamori, Citrus sinensis pomace, electroplating wastewater remediation, membrane bioreactor.

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