State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2008MA135B
Title: Toxicity of carbon nanotubes to the activated sludge process: protective ability of extracellular polymeric substances
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 4/01/2008
End Date: 2/28/2009
Congressional District: 5th
Focus Categories: Toxic Substances, Wastewater
Keywords: Activated sludge, Carbon nanotubes, Extracellular polymeric substances, Respiration inhibition, Toxicity
Principal Investigators: Zhang, Xiaoqi (Jackie); Luongo, Lauren Ann
Federal Funds: $ 5,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 13,492
Abstract: Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are considered a novel material with growing commercial application due to their unique properties. Massachusetts is a leader in nanotechnology growth and production; in 2003 alone, nanotechnology companies in Massachusetts received over 100 million in venture capital investment. The discharge of CNTs from industrial waste or disposal of such materials from commercial and/or domestic use will inevitably occur with increasing production and enter into wastewater treatment facilities with unknown consequences. Therefore, a better knowledge of the toxicity of CNTs to biological processes in wastewater treatment will be critical. The proposed study will attempt to evaluate whether or not CNTs exhibit toxicity to the activated sludge process with sheared and unsheared activated sludge. The study will allow for the investigation into whether or not the bacteria in the activated sludge are protected significantly enough by the extracellular polymeric substances and whether or not there is toxicity in the form of respiration inhibition when exposed to CNTs.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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