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J Hazard Mater. 2019 Sep 6;383:121176. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2019.121176. [Epub ahead of print]

Potential influences of exogenous pollutants occurred in waste activated sludge on anaerobic digestion: A review.

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Key Laboratory of Integrated Regulation and Resource Development on Shallow Lakes, Ministry of Education, College of Environment, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China; College of Environment, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China.
Jiangsu Provincial Academy of Environmental Science, Nanjing 210098, China.
College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Hunan University, Changsha 410082, China. Electronic address:


Anaerobic digestion is a promising approach for waste activated sludge (WAS) disposal. However, a wide range of exogenous pollutants (e.g. heavy metals, nanoparticles) exists in WAS and their influences on anaerobic digestion are neglected. This study investigates the correlations between exogenous pollutants and anaerobic digestion performance. The results indicate that exogenous pollutants exhibit dose-dependent influences on WAS digestion. Most of the pollutants improve the performance of anaerobic digestion by partially or wholly promoting the hydrolysis, acidification and methanogenesis processes at low dose, but exhibit negative effects at high levels due to their toxicity. Generally, methanogens are more vulnerable than those hydrolytic and acidogenic bacteria. Poly-aluminum chloride and polyacrylamide show strong inhibition on WAS digestion, which are primarily attributed to their physical enmeshments of organic matters in WAS. The synergistic effects of different mixed pollutants and the mitigating strategies for typical pollutants inhibition deserve more attention in light of WAS anaerobic digestion.


Anaerobic digestion; Dose-dependent influences; Exogenous pollutants; Methanogens; Waste activated sludge (WAS)

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