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Title: Microplastics in real wastewater treatment schemes: Comparative assessment and relevant inhibition effects on anaerobic processes
Authors: Pittura, L
Foglia, A
Akyol, Ç
Cipolletta, G
Benedetti, M
Regoli, F
Eusebi, AL
Sabbatini, S
Tseng, LY
Katsou, E
Gorbi, S
Fatone, F
Keywords: microplastics;municipal wastewater;polypropylene;sewage sludge;UASB
Issue Date: 23-Sep-2020
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Pittura, L. et al. (2021) 'Microplastics in real wastewater treatment schemes: Comparative assessment and relevant inhibition effects on anaerobic processes', Chemosphere, 262, 128415, pp. 1 - 10. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.128415.
Abstract: The occurrence, fate and removal of microplastics (MPs) in a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Central Italy were investigated together with their potential adverse effects on anaerobic processes. In the influent of the WWTP, 3.6 MPs.L−1 were detected that mostly comprised polyester fibers and particles in the shape of films, ranging 0.1–0.5 mm and made of polyethylene and polypropylene (PP). The full-scale conventional activated sludge scheme removed 86% of MPs, with the main reduction in the primary and secondary settling. MPs particles bigger than 1 mm were not detected in the final effluent and some loss of polymers types were observed. In comparison, the pilot-scale upflow granular anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) + anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) configuration achieved 94% MPs removal with the abatement of 87% of fibers and 100% of particles. The results highlighted an accumulation phenomenon of MPs in the sludge and suggested the need to further investigate the effects of MPs on anaerobic processes. Accordingly, PP-MPs at concentrations from 5 PP-MPs.gTS−1 to 50 PP-MPs.gTS−1 were spiked in the pilot-scale UASB reactor that was fed with real municipal wastewater, where up to 58% decrease in methanogenic activity was observed at the exposure of 50 PP-MPs.gTS−1. To the best of our knowledge, the presented results are the first to report of PP-MPs inhibition on anaerobic processes.
Description: Supplementary data are available online at .
ISSN: 0045-6535
Other Identifiers: ORCID iD: Evina Katsou
Appears in Collections:Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering Research Papers

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