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Concept: Biochemical oxygen demand


This study was conducted at a centralized wastewater treatment plant that receives discharges from nearly 160 industries. The chemical oxygen demand (COD) was fractionated for two objectives: delineation of the limits of the activated sludge process being used at the plant, and evaluation of the potential environmental impact of the treated effluent. Physico-chemical analyses, respirometric and biodegradation tests, as well as COD fractionation were carried out. Molasses-wastewaters were determined to be the major contribution to the plant. The influent was dark brown in color, with a relatively high content of both organics (2503 mg/L COD) and salts (5459 μS/cm conductivity), but a low biochemical oxygen demand (568 mg/L BOD(5)) and BOD(5)/COD ratio (0.24). The degradability of the organics was limited by the high content of inert soluble COD (S(I)). The COD fractionation pattern was 40-20-40% for S(I), X(I) (inerts) and S(H) (soluble hydrolyzable), respectively. More than 90% BOD(5) removal was obtained, which was sufficient for the plant to meet the national Standards. However, the effluent discharged into the river was intensely colored and polluted (>1000 mg/L COD, >5000 μS/cm), emphasizing the need for legislation regulating COD, color and salinity, and for upgraded treatment methods worldwide for molasses wastewaters.

Concepts: Water pollution, Sewage treatment, Anaerobic digestion, Wastewater, Chemical oxygen demand, Activated sludge, Environmental engineering, Biochemical oxygen demand


Gold-modified boron doped diamond (BDD) electrodes were examined for the amperometric detection of oxygen as well as a detector for measuring biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) using Rhodotorula mucilaginosa UICC Y-181. An optimum potential of -0.5 V (vs Ag/AgCl) was applied, and the optimum waiting time was observed to be 20 min. A linear calibration curve for oxygen reduction was achieved with a sensitivity of 1.4 μA mg(-1) L oxygen. Furthermore, a linear calibration curve in the glucose concentration range of 0.1-0.5 mM (equivalent to 10-50 mg L(-1) BOD) was obtained with an estimated detection limit of 4 mg L(-1) BOD. Excellent reproducibility of the BOD sensor was shown with an RSD of 0.9%. Moreover, the BOD sensor showed good tolerance against the presence of copper ions up to a maximum concentration of 0.80 μM (equivalent to 50 ppb). The sensor was applied to BOD measurements of the water from a lake at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia, with results comparable to those made using a standard method for BOD measurement.

Concepts: Scientific method, Oxygen, Hydrogen, Electrochemistry, Measurement, Water pollution, Analytical chemistry, Biochemical oxygen demand


The photocalytic degradation of dicloxacillin (DXC) using TiO2 was studied in synthetic and natural waters. The degradation route and the effect of different experimental variables such as pH, applied power, and the initial concentrations of DXC and the catalyst were investigated. The best performances were achieved at a natural pH 5.8 and using 2.0 g L(-1) of TiO2 with 150 W of applied power. The photodegradation process followed Langmuir-Hinshelwood kinetics. The water matrix effect was evaluated in terms of degradation efficiency in the presence of organic compounds (oxalic acid, glucose), Fe(2+) ion and natural water. An increase in degradation was observed when ferrous ion was part of the solution, but the process was inhibited with all evaluated organic compounds. Similarly, inhibition was observed when natural water was used instead of distilled water. The extent of degradation of the process was evaluated following the evolution of chemical oxygen demand (COD), antimicrobial activity (AA), total organic carbon (TOC) and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5). Total removal of DXC was achieved after 120 min of treatment and 95% mineralization was observed after 480 min of treatment. Additionally, the total removal of antimicrobial activity and a high level of biodegradability were observed after the photocalytical system had been operating for 240 min.

Concepts: Oxygen, Water, Hydrogen, Chemistry, Water pollution, Water quality indicators, Chemical oxygen demand, Biochemical oxygen demand


Organic pollution of rivers by wastewater discharge from human activities negatively impacts people and ecosystems. Without treatment, pollution control relies on a combination of natural degradation and dilution by natural runoff to reduce downstream effects. We quantify here for the first time the global sanitation crisis through its impact on organic river pollution from the threats of (1) increasing wastewater discharge due to urbanization and intensification of livestock farming, and (2) reductions in river dilution capacity due to climate change and water extractions. Using in-stream Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) as an overall indicator of organic river pollution, we calculate historical (2000) and future (2050) BOD concentrations in global river networks. Despite significant self-cleaning capacities of rivers, the number of people affected by organic pollution (BOD >5 mg/l) is projected to increase from 1.1 billion in 2000 to 2.5 billion in 2050. With developing countries disproportionately affected, our results point to a growing need for affordable wastewater solutions.

Concepts: Oxygen, Agriculture, Climate, Weather, Water pollution, Climate change, Surface runoff, Biochemical oxygen demand


Remotely sensed data can reinforce the abilities of water resources researchers and decision makers to monitor waterbodies more effectively. Remote sensing techniques have been widely used to measure the qualitative parameters of waterbodies (i.e., suspended sediments, colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM), chlorophyll-a, and pollutants). A large number of different sensors on board various satellites and other platforms, such as airplanes, are currently used to measure the amount of radiation at different wavelengths reflected from the water’s surface. In this review paper, various properties (spectral, spatial and temporal, etc.) of the more commonly employed spaceborne and airborne sensors are tabulated to be used as a sensor selection guide. Furthermore, this paper investigates the commonly used approaches and sensors employed in evaluating and quantifying the eleven water quality parameters. The parameters include: chlorophyll-a (chl-a), colored dissolved organic matters (CDOM), Secchi disk depth (SDD), turbidity, total suspended sediments (TSS), water temperature (WT), total phosphorus (TP), sea surface salinity (SSS), dissolved oxygen (DO), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD).

Concepts: Oxygen, Water, Lake, Water pollution, Water quality indicators, Chemical oxygen demand, Biochemical oxygen demand, Turbidity


Standard Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) analysis requires 5 days to complete. To date, microbial fuel cell biosensors used as an alternative method for BOD assessment requires external apparatus, which limits their use for on-line monitoring in remote, off-grid locations. In this study, a self-powered, floating biosensor was developed for online water quality monitoring. This approach eliminated the need for external apparatus and maintenance that would otherwise be required by other techniques. The biosensor was able to detect urine in freshwater and turn ON a visual and sound cues (85 dB). The energy needed to operate the biosensor was produced by the system itself with the use of electroactive microorganisms, inside microbial fuel cells. The Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) was used as a fast method of biosensor validation. When urine concentration exceeded the lower threshold, corresponding to a COD concentration of 57.7 ± 4.8 mgO2 L(-1), the biosensor turned the alarm ON. The shortest observed actuation time, required to switch ON the alarm was 61 min, when the urine concentration was 149.7 ± 1.7 mgO2 L(-1). Once the sensor was switched ON, the signal was emitted until the urine organic load decreased to 15.3 ± 1.9 mgO2 L(-1). When ON, the microbial fuel cell sensor produced a maximum power of 4.3 mW. When switched OFF, the biosensor produced 25.4 μW. The frequency of the signal was proportional to the concentration of urine. The observed frequencies varied between 0.01 and 0.59 Hz. This approach allowed to correlate and quantitatively detect the presence of water contamination, based on signal frequency. The sensor was operating autonomously for 5 months. This is the first report of a self-powered, autonomous device, developed for online water quality monitoring.

Concepts: Water, Water pollution, Chemical oxygen demand, Fuel cell, Biochemical oxygen demand, Microbial fuel cell, Glossary of fuel cell terms, Fuel cells


Fish, crustaceans and other living organisms are threatened due to disposal of harmful contaminants in sea water. Ammonia is considered one of harmful contaminants due to industrial activities of oil companies, where excess ammonia in the formation water is discharged into sea water. Electrochemical treatment (EC) was used in one step for total removal of ammonia and remediation of other contaminants. Three working electrodes were examined EC cell, aluminum, iron and modified electrode (Ti/IrO2). Graphite electrode was used as counter electrode in all processes of binary system. Both ionized and unionized ammonia of onshore (5.54 mg L-1) and off shore (110 mg L-1) were totally undetected after one step using all types of electrodes. The study was extended also to check the removal efficiency of other contaminants, where the analysis indicated the alleviation of them. Total suspended solid (TSS) of both onshore 64 mg L-1 and offshore 228 mg L-1 samples was reduced to 4 mg L-1. Total dissolved solids (TDS), chemical oxygen demand (COD) and biological oxygen demand (BOD) of high values, 232,000, 8500 and 2442 mg L-1 were also reduced to lower levels 18,400, 4000 and 1600 mg L-1, respectively. The formed sludge after EC treatment was also investigated using XRD.

Concepts: Oxygen, Water, Electrochemistry, Electrode, Electrochemical cell, Electrolysis, Biochemical oxygen demand, Total dissolved solids


The aim of this research was to study the biological feasibility of the Partial Nitritation/Anammox (PN/A) technology to remove nitrogen from municipal mainstream wastewaters. During stable process operations at summer temperatures (23.2±1.3°C) the total nitrogen removal rate was 0.223±0.029 kgN (m3 d)-1 while at winter temperatures (13.4±1.1°C) the total nitrogen removal rate was 0.097±0.016 kgN (m3 d)-1. NOB suppression was successfully achieved at the complete temperature range of municipal mainstream wastewater. Despite the presence of NOB as observed in activity tests, their activity could be successfully suppressed due to a relative low dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration. An overcapacity of AOB and anammox activity was always present. Long term stability is a focus point for future research, especially in relation to the stability of the BOD (biological oxygen demand) removing step, preceding the PN/A reactor.

Concepts: Time, Oxygen, Water pollution, Temperature, Thermodynamics, Chemical element, Gas, Biochemical oxygen demand


The responses of Acorus calamus under greenhouse conditions for 56 days when exposed to three dilutions (25%, 50%, and undiluted) of anaerobic digester effluent from a swine farm were determined. Plant growth, morphology, pigments, and minerals in plant tissues as well as water quality were investigated. The plants grew well in all concentrations of anaerobic digester effluent with no statistically significant effects on plant growth and morphology, and without any toxicity symptoms. The NH₄⁺ concentrations in leaves and roots and the NO₃− concentrations in leaves as well as the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium concentrations in the plant tissues increased with increasing effluent concentration. The nutrients in the anaerobic digester effluent were removed effectively (NH₄-N > 99% removal; PO₄-P > 80% removal), with highest removal rates in the undiluted digester effluent. The removal of total suspended solids (>80% in 42 days) and chemical oxygen demand (37⁻53%) were lower. The dissolved oxygen concentration in the anaerobic digester effluent increased overtime, probably because of root oxygen release. It is concluded that Acorus calamus could be a promising species for treating high-strength wastewater with high nutrient concentrations, such as effluents from anaerobic digesters as well as other types of agricultural wastewaters.

Concepts: Water, Water pollution, Sewage treatment, Anaerobic digestion, Chemical oxygen demand, Environmental engineering, Biochemical oxygen demand, Total suspended solids


In this work, pulp mill wastewater was treated with a novel polymer flocculant, which was synthesized through polymerizing (2-methacryloyloxyethyl) trimethyl ammonium chloride (DMC) and xylan. Xylan-DMC polymer removed 94.5% of turbidity, 61.7% of chemical oxygen demand (COD), 45.0% of lignin, 65.7% of sugar and 73.5% of biological oxygen demand (BOD) from the wastewater at the polymer concentration of 500 mg/L. The flocculation mechanism was fundamentally assessed with determining hydrodynamic size and chord length of flocs in the wastewater at different dosages of xylan-DMC polymer in the system. By adding polymers, the number of flocs with a small chord length (10-50 μm) decreased, while that with a large chord length (150-300 μm) increased, indicating the small particles agglomerated via bridging induced by the polymer. The sedimentation of formed flocs was quantitatively investigated by a vertical scan analyzer and the results depicted that the flocs could settle readily from the system.

Concepts: DNA, Oxygen, Water pollution, Polymer, Polysaccharide, Chemical oxygen demand, Biochemical oxygen demand, Flocculation