Complete dechlorination and mineralization of para-chlorophenol (4-CP) in a hydrogen-based membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR)

Min Long, Chao Zeng, Zhaocheng Wang, Siqing Xia, Chen Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Complete mineralization of para-chlorophenol (4-CP), a toxic xenobiotic compound, is challenging for water treatment due to the high energy use of destructive methods. Herein a sustainable hydrogen (H2)-based membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR) is presented in treating 4-CP and NO3-. With the increase of 4-CP surface loading, this technology can achieve continuous depletion (> 99%) of up to 100 mg/L 4-CP and 10 mg-N/L NO3- with minimal intermediates accumulation. The function of H2, the controlling parameter in the H2-MBfR, was examined in degrading 4-CP and NO3-. H2 served as the electron donor in fueling the denitrification and dechlorination process. Activated by H2, 4-CP can fulfill the ‘loop-closing degradation’ mediated by the heterotrophic bacteria: the products of 4-CP, served as electron donors, which refuel 4-CP degradation. In addition, H2 created an anaerobic condition for the biofilm, and in turn, shifted the microbial community and the possible degradation pathways of 4-CP. The absence of H2 induced the main functional bacteria changed from anaerobic bacteria Thauera to aerobic bacteria Xanthobacter, and further enhanced the genes encoding the enzymes responsible for oxidative dechlorination and aerobic activation of phenol. With no soluble chemical oxygen demand (sCOD) accumulated at the steady state, this technology provides promising visions into complete bioremediation of water containing 4-CP and NO3- with no residues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number123257
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
StatePublished - Dec 10 2020


  • Aromatic ring activation
  • Dechlorination
  • Hydrogen (H)
  • Membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR)
  • Para-chlorophenol (4-CP) bioremediation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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