Development of a Surfactant-Containing Process to Improve the Removal Efficiency of Phenol and Control the Molecular Weight of Synthetic Phenolic Polymers Using Horseradish Peroxidase in an Aqueous System

  • Chao-Ling YaoEmail author
  • Che-Chi Lin
  • I-Ming Chu
  • Yi-Ting Lai


To reduce phenolic pollutants in the environment, many countries have imposed firm restrictions on industrial wastewater discharge. In addition, the current industrial process of phenolic resin production uses phenol and formaldehyde as the reactants to perform a polycondensation reaction. Due to the toxicity of formaldehyde and phenolic pollutants, the main purpose of this research was to design a green process using horseradish peroxidase (HRP) enzymatic polymerization to remove phenols and to produce formaldehyde-free phenolic polymers. In this study, the optimal reaction conditions, such as reaction temperature, pH, initial phenol concentration and initial ratio of phenol, and H2O2, were examined. Then, the parameters of the enzyme kinetics were determined. To solve the restriction of enzyme inactivation, several nonionic surfactants were selected to improve the phenol removal efficiency, and the optimal operation conditions in a surfactant-containing system were also confirmed. Importantly, the molecular weight of the synthetic phenolic polymers could be controlled by adjusting the ratio of phenol and H2O2. The content of biphenols in the products was almost undetectable. Collectively, a green chemistry process was proposed in this study and would benefit the treatment of phenol-containing wastewater and the production of formaldehyde-free phenolic resin in the future.


Horseradish peroxidase Phenol Formaldehyde-free Phenolic polymer Tween 20 



Bovine liver catalase


Gel permeation chromatography


High-performance liquid chromatography


Horseradish peroxidase


International Agency for Research on Cancer


Michaelis constant


Number average molecular weights


Weight average molecular weights




United States Environmental Protection Agency


Initial rate


Maximal velocity


Funding Information

This work was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, Republic of China [MOST 106-2622-8-007-017, MOST 107-2622-8-007-015, and MOST 108-2622-8-007-016].

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials ScienceYuan Ze UniversityTaoyuan CityTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringNational Tsing-Hua UniversityHsinchuTaiwan

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