Self-purification of actual wastewater via microbial-synergy driving of catalyst-surface microelectronic field: A pilot-scale study.J Hazard Mater. 2023 Sep 05; 457:131744.JH
High energy consumption is impedimental for eliminating refractory organics in wastewater by current technologies. Herein, we develop an efficient self-purification process for actual non-biodegradable dyeing wastewater at pilot scale, using N-doped graphene-like (CN) complexed Cu-Al2O3 supported Al2O3 ceramics (HCLL-S8-M) fixed-bed reactor without additional input. About 36% chemical oxygen demand removal was achieved within 20 min empty bed retention time and maintained stability for almost one year. The HCLL-S8-M structure feature and its interface on microbial community structure, functions, and metabolic pathways were analyzed by density-functional theory calculation, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, multiomics analysis of metagenome, macrotranscriptome and macroproteome. On the surface of HCLL-S8-M, a strong microelectronic field (MEF) was formed by the electron-rich/poor area due to Cu-π interaction from the complexation between phenolic hydroxy of CN and Cu species, driving the electrons of the adsorbed dye pollutants to the microorganisms through extracellular polymeric substance and the direct transfer of extracellular electrons, causing their degradation into CO2 and intermediates, which was degraded partly via intracellular metabolism. The lower energy feeding for the microbiome produced less adenosine triphosphate, resulting in little sludge throughout reaction. The MEF from electronic polarization is greatly potential to develop low-energy wastewater treatment technology.