Bio-reduction of arsenate using a hydrogen-based membrane biofilm reactor

Jinwook Chung, Xiaohao Li, Bruce Rittmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Arsenate (As(V)) is a carcinogen and a significant problem in groundwater in many parts of the world. Since As(III) is generally more mobile and more toxic than As(V), the reduction of As(V) to As(III) is not a conventional treatment goal. However, reducing As(V) to As(III) may still be a means for decontamination, because As(III) can be removed from solution by precipitation or complexation with sulfide or by adsorption to Fe(II)-based solids. A promising approach for reducing oxidized contaminants is the H2-based membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR). In the case of arsenate, the MBfR allows bio-reduction of As(V) to As(III) and sulfate to sulfide, thereby giving the potential for As removal, such as by precipitation of As2S3(s) or formation of Fe(II)-based solids. When As(V) was added to a denitrifying MBfR, As(V) was reduced immediately to As(III). Decreasing the influent sulfate loading increased As(V) reduction for a fixed H2 pressure. A series of short-term experiments elaborated on how As(V) loading, nitrate and sulfate loadings, and H2 pressure controlled As(V) reduction. Lower nitrate loading and increased As(V) loading increased the extent of As(V) reduction, but increased H2 pressure did not increase As(V) reduction. As(V) reduction was sensitive to sulfate loading, with a maximum As(V)-removal percentage and flux with no addition of sulfate. As(III) could be precipitated with sulfide or adsorbed to Fe(II) solids, which was verified by scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-34
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Arsenic
  • Bio-reduction
  • Hydrogen
  • Membrane biofilm reactor
  • Sulfate reduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Bio-reduction of arsenate using a hydrogen-based membrane biofilm reactor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this