Biological As(III) oxidation in biofilters by using native groundwater microorganisms.
Simona Crognale, Barbara Casentini, Stefano Amalfitano, Stefano Fazi, Maurizio Petruccioli, Simona Rossetti
Science of the Total Environment, 2018

Abstract

Arsenic (As) contamination in drinking water represents a worldwide threat to human health. During last decades, the exploitation of microbial As-transformations has been proposed for bioremediation applications. Among biological methods for As-contaminated water treatment, microbial As(III)-oxidation is one of the most promising approaches since it can be coupled to commonly used adsorption removal technologies, without requiring the addition of chemicals and producing toxic by-products. Despite the As(III) oxidation capability has been described in several bacterial pure or enrichment cultures, very little is known about the real potentialities of this processwhenmixed microbial communities, naturally occurring in As contaminatedwaters, are used. This study highlighted the contribution of native groundwater bacteria to As(III)-oxidation in biofilters, under conditions suitable for a household-scale treatment system. This work elucidated the influence of a variety of experimental conditions (i.e., various filling materials, flow rates, As(III) inflow concentration, As(III):As(V) ratio, filter volumes) on the microbially-mediated As(III)-oxidation process in terms of oxidation efficiency and rate. The highest oxidation efficiencies (up to 90% in 3 h) were found on coarse sand biofilters treating total initial As concentration of 100 μg L−1. The detailed microbial characterization of the As(III) oxidizing biofilms revealed the occurrence of several OTUs affiliated with families known to oxidize As(III) (e.g., Burkholderiaceae, Comamonadaceae, Rhodobacteraceae, Xanthomonadaceae). Furthermore, As-related functional genes increased in biofilter systems in line with the observed oxidative performances..

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