Development of hybrid processes for the removal of volatile organic compounds, plasticizer, and pharmaceutically active compound using sewage sludge, waste scrap tires, and wood chips as sorbents and microbial immobilization matrices

  • Renata Alves de Toledo
  • U. Hin Chao
  • Tingting Shen
  • Qihong Lu
  • Xueqing Li
  • Hojae ShimEmail author
Low cost organic and inorganic sorbents to fight soil and water pollution


This study evaluated the reutilization of waste materials (scrap tires, sewage sludge, and wood chips) to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) benzene/toluene/ethylbenzene/xylenes/trichloroethylene/cis-1,2-dichloroethylene (BTEX/TCE/cis-DCE), plasticizer di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), and pharmaceutically active compound carbamazepine from artificially contaminated water. Different hybrid removal processes were developed: (1) 300 mg/L BTEX + 20 mg/L TCE + 10 mg/L cis-DCE + tires + Pseudomonas sp.; (2) 250 mg/L toluene + sewage sludge biochar + Pseudomonas sp.; (3) 100 mg/L DEHP + tires + Acinetobacter sp.; and (4) 20 mg/L carbamazepine + wood chips + Phanerochaete chrysosporium. For the hybrid process (1), the removal of xylenes, TCE, and cis-DCE was enhanced, resulted from the contribution of both physical adsorption and biological immobilization removal. The hybrid process (2) was also superior for the removal of DEHP and required a shorter time (2 days) for the bioremoval. For the process (3), the biochar promoted the microbial immobilization on its surface and substantially enhanced/speed up the bioremoval of toluene. The fungal immobilization on wood chips in the hybrid process (4) also improved the carbamazepine removal considerably (removal efficiencies of 61.3 ± 0.6%) compared to the suspended system without wood chips (removal efficiencies of 34.4 ± 1.8%). These hybrid processes would not only be promising for the bioremediation of environmentally concerned contaminants but also reutilize waste materials as sorbents without any further treatment.


Biochar Biosorption Carbamazepine DEHP Microbial immobilization VOCs Waste scrap tires Wood chips 



This work was supported by the grants from the Macau Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT/115/2016/A3; FDCT044/2017/AFJ) and the University of Macau Multi-Year Research Grant (MYRG2017-00181-FST).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renata Alves de Toledo
    • 1
  • U. Hin Chao
    • 1
  • Tingting Shen
    • 1
  • Qihong Lu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xueqing Li
    • 1
    • 3
  • Hojae Shim
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversity of MacauMacauChina
  2. 2.Environmental Microbiome Research Center and the School of Environmental Science and EngineeringSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Water Environmental Research InstituteShenzhen Academy of Environmental ScienceShenzhenChina

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