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Environ Sci Technol. 2015 Jul 7;49(13):7776-83. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.5b00989. Epub 2015 Jun 23.

Intimate Coupling of Photocatalysis and Biodegradation for Degrading Phenol Using Different Light Types: Visible Light vs UV Light.

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†Key Lab of Groundwater Resources and Environment, Ministry of Education, Jilin University, Changchun 130021, China.
‡School of Environment, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130117, China.
§State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment, Harbin Institute of Technology (SKLUWRE, HIT), Harbin 150090, China.


Intimate coupling of photocatalysis and biodegradation (ICPB) technology is attractive for phenolic wastewater treatment, but has only been investigated using UV light (called UPCB). We examined the intimate coupling of visible-light-induced photocatalysis and biodegradation (VPCB) for the first time. Our catalyst was prepared doping both of Er(3+) and YAlO3 into TiO2 which were supported on macroporous carriers. The macroporous carriers was used to support for the biofilms as well. 99.8% removal efficiency of phenol was achieved in the VPCB, and this was 32.6% higher than that in the UPCB. Mineralization capability of UPCB was even worse, due to less adsorbable intermediates and cell lysis induced soluble microbial products release. The lower phenol degradation in the UPCB was due to the serious detachment of the biofilms, and then the microbes responsible for phenol degradation were insufficient due to disinfection by UV irradiation. In contrast, microbial communities in the carriers were well protected under visible light irradiation and extracellular polymeric substances secretion was enhanced. Thus, we found that the photocatalytic reaction and biodegradation were intimately coupled in the VPCB, resulting in 64.0% removal of dissolved organic carbon. Therefore, we found visible light has some advantages over UV light in the ICPB technology.

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