Enzymatic post-treatment of ozonation: laccase-mediated removal of the by-products of acetaminophen ozonation

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2023 Feb 28. doi: 10.1007/s11356-023-25913-w. Online ahead of print.


Ozonation is a powerful technique to remove micropollutants from wastewater. As chemical oxidation of wastewater comes with the formation of varying, possibly persistent and toxic by-products, post-treatment of the ozonated effluent is routinely suggested. This study explored an enzymatic treatment of ozonation products using the laccase from Trametes versicolor. A high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry (HPLC-HRMS) analysis revealed that the major by-products were effectively degraded by the enzymatic post-treatment. The enzymatic removal of the by-products reduced the ecotoxicity of the ozonation effluent, as monitored by the inhibition of Aliivibrio fischeri. The ecotoxicity was more effectively reduced by enzymatic post-oxidation at pH 7 than at the activity maximum of the laccase at pH 5. A mechanistic HPLC-HRMS and UV/Vis spectroscopic analysis revealed that acidic conditions favored rapid conversion of the phenolic by-products to dead-end products in the absence of nucleophiles. In contrast, the polymerization to harmless insoluble polymers was favored at neutral conditions. Hence, coupling ozonation with laccase-catalyzed post-oxidation at neutral conditions, which are present in wastewater effluents, is suggested as a new resource-efficient method to remove persistent micropollutants while excluding the emission of potentially harmful by-products.

PMID:36853537 | DOI:10.1007/s11356-023-25913-w