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Water Res. 2007 Jul;41(13):2879-84. Epub 2007 May 16.

Anaerobic degradation of dimethyl phthalate in wastewater in a UASB reactor.

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Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China.


Over 99% of dimethyl phthalate (DMP) and 93% of chemical oxygen demand (COD) were effectively removed in a continuous upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor from a wastewater containing 600 mg/L DMP at 8h of hydraulic retention time (HRT), corresponding to a loading rate of 3g-COD/(Ld). Each gram of sludge, expressed as volatile suspended solids (VSS), had a maximum specific methanogenic activity (SMA) of 24 mg-CH(4)/(g-VSSd) using DMP as the sole carbon source. The sludge yield was estimated as 0.08 g-VSS/g-COD. During anaerobic degradation, DMP was de-esterified, first to mono-methyl phthalate (MMP) and then to phthalate, before being de-aromatized and subsequently converted to CH(4) and CO(2). The maximum specific degradation rates of DMP, MMP and phthalate were 415, 88 and 36 mg/(g-VSSd), respectively. Analysis based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) showed a gradual shift of microbial population with the increase of DMP loading.

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