Article Publication in “Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering”


Michele Ponzelli and co-authors published an article titled “Rapid biological reduction of graphene oxide: Impact on methane production and micropollutant transformation” in the Journal of Environmental Engineering (impact factor of 7.9).

The study’s environmental implication was that adding graphene oxide (GO) to wastewater treatment systems should allow an enhanced removal of organic micropollutants (OMPs), i.e., persistent pollutants with unknown long-term effects. Thus, the research aimed to evaluate the impact of GO addition on biogas production and OMPs removal and transformation in anaerobic batch assays.

As a prerequisite for improved degradation kinetics, GO has to first be biologically reduced via microbial respiration. Results revealed that such GO’s biological reduction occurred within one day. Notably, this is the first study demonstrating it using a real culture of an anaerobic digester rather than single or lab-cultivated microbial strains. However, the removal of the two antibiotics, selected as model OMPs (sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim), occurred in a few days regardless of the presence of GO. Furthermore, GO presence had an inhibitive impact on the formation of sulfamethoxazole’s transformation products and the biogas yield by up to 20%.

Therefore, the expected improvement in OMPs transformation and biogas production due to GO addition was not observed. Nevertheless, the study points to the need for further investigation of GO effects on the biotransformation of OMPs and temporal extension for a more comprehensive assessment of GO’s impact.

The article is published under the Open Access (OA) scheme, and thus it is freely consultable at the following link:


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