1 Centre of Polymer Systems, Department of Environment Protection Engineering, Tomas Bata University Zlin, T.G. Masaryka nam. 5555, 760 01 Zlin, Czech Republic, phone +420 57 603 1220, fax +420 577 210 172
2 Department of Environment Protection Engineering, Tomas Bata University Zlin, T.G. Masaryka nam. 275, 762 01 Zlin, Czech Republic, phone +420 576 031 411, fax +420 577 210 172
A synthetic polymer, polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP - E 1201) primarily finds applications in the pharmaceutical and food industries due to its resistance and zero toxicity to organisms. After ingestion, the substance passes through the organism unchanged. Consequently, it enters the systems of municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) without decomposing biologically during the waste treatment process, nor does it attach (through sorption) to particles of activated sludge to any significant extent, therefore, it passes through the system of a WWTP, which may cause the substance to accumulate in the natural environment. For this reason the paper investigates the potential to initiate aerobic biodegradation of PVP in the presence of activated sludge from a municipal wastewater treatment plant. The following agents were selected as the initiators of the biodegradation process - co-substrates: acrylamide, N-acethylphenylalanine and 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, a substance with a similar structure to PVP monomer. The biodegradability of PVP in the presence of co-substrates was evaluated on the basis of biological oxygen demand (BOD) as determined via a MicroOxymax O2/CO2/CH4 respirometer. The total substrate concentration in the suspension equaled 400 mg·dm-3, with the ratio between PVP and the cosubstrate being 1:1, while the concentration of the dry activated sludge was 500 mg·dm-3. Even though there was no occurrence of a significant increase in the biodegradation of PVP alone in the presence of a co-substrate, acrylamide appeared to be the most effective type of co-substrate. Nevertheless, a recorded decrease in the slope of biodegradation curves over time may indicate that a process of primary decomposition was underway, which involves the production of metabolites that inhibit activated sludge microorganisms. The resulting products are not identified at this stage of experimentation.
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