The role of tannins in conventional and membrane treatment of tannery wastewater

G. Munz, D. De Angelis, R. Gori, G. Mori, M. Casarci, C. Lubello

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The role that tannins play in tannery wastewater treatment has been evaluated employing a pilot Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) plant and a full scale Conventional Activated Sludge Process (CASP) plant conducted in parallel. The proposed methodology has established the preliminary use of respirometry to examine the biodegradability of a selection of commercial products (synthetic and natural tannins); the subsequent analysis, by means of spectrophotometric reading and RP-IPC (Reverse-Phase Ion-Pair) liquid chromatography, estimates the concentrations of natural tannins and naphthalenesulfonic tanning agents in the influent and effluent samples. The results show that a consistent percentage of the Total Organic Carbon (TOC) in the effluent of the biological phase of the plants is attributable to the presence of natural and synthetic (Sulfonated Naphthalene-Formaldehyde Condensates, SNFC) tannins (17% and 14% respectively). The titrimetric tests that were aimed at evaluating the levels of inhibition on the nitrifying biomass samples did not allow a direct inhibiting effect to be associated with the concentration levels of the tannin in the effluent. Nonetheless, the reduced specific growth rates of ammonium and nitrite oxidising bacteria imply that a strong environmental pressure is present, if not necessarily due to the concentration of tannins, due to the wastewater as a whole. The differences that have emerged by comparing the two technologies (CASP and MBR), in regards to the role that tannins play in terms of biodegradability, did not appear to be significant. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733 - 739
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2009


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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