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Decolorization of Azo Dyes in Bioelectrochemical Systems

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journal contribution
posted on 01.07.2009, 00:00 by Yang Mu, Korneel Rabaey, René A. Rozendal, Zhiguo Yuan, Jürg Keller
Azo dyes are ubiquitously used in the textile industry. These dyes need to be removed from the effluent prior to discharge to sewage due to their intense color and toxicity. In this study we investigated the use of a bioelectrochemical system (BES) to abioticlly cathodic decolorization of a model azo dye, Acid Orange 7 (AO7), where the process was driven by microbial oxidation of acetate at the anode. Effective decolorization of AO7 at rates up to 2.64 ± 0.03 mol m−3 NCC d−1 (net cathodic compartment, NCC) was achieved at the cathode, with concomitant energy recovery. The AO7 decolorization rate was significantly enhanced when the BES was supplied with power, reaching 13.18 ± 0.05 mol m−3 NCC d−1 at an energy consumption 0.012 ± 0.001 kWh mol−1 AO7 (at a controlled cathode potential of −400 mV vs SHE). Compared with conventional anaerobic biological methods, the required dosage of organic cosubstrate was significantly reduced in the BES. A possible cathodic reaction mechanism for the decolorization of AO7 is suggested based on the decolorization products identified: the azo bond of AO7 was cleaved at the cathode, resulting in the formation of the colorless sulfanilic acid and 1-amino-2-naphthol.