Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 21, pp 20283–20292 | Cite as

Bioelectro-Fenton: evaluation of a combined biological—advanced oxidation treatment for pharmaceutical wastewater

  • Oleksandra Ganzenko
  • Clement Trellu
  • Stefano Papirio
  • Nihal Oturan
  • David Huguenot
  • Eric D. van Hullebusch
  • Giovanni Esposito
  • Mehmet A. OturanEmail author
Water: From Pollution to Purification


Electro-Fenton (EF), an advanced oxidation process, can be combined with a biological process for efficient treatment of wastewater containing refractory pollutants such as pharmaceuticals. In this study, a biological process was implemented in a sequencing batch reactor (SBR), which was either preceded or followed by EF treatment. The main goal was to evaluate the potential of two sequences of a combined electrochemical-biological process: EF/SBR and SBR/EF for the treatment of real wastewater spiked with 0.1 mM of caffeine and 5-fluorouracil. The biological removal of COD and pharmaceuticals was improved by extending the acclimation time and increasing concentration of biomass in the SBR. Hardly biodegradable caffeine and COD were completely removed during the EF post-treatment (SBR/EF). During the EF/SBR sequence, complete removal of pharmaceuticals was achieved by EF within 30 min at applied current 800 mA. With a current of 500 and 800 mA, the initially very low BOD5/COD ratio increased up to 0.38 and 0.58, respectively, after 30 min. The efficiency of the biological post-treatment was influenced by the biodegradability enhancement after EF pre-treatment. The choice of an adequate sequence of such a combined process is significantly related to the wastewater characteristics as well as the treatment objectives.


Electro-Fenton Combined process Pharmaceuticals Caffeine 5-fluorouracil Biological treatment 



The authors thank the EU for providing financial support through the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate Program ETeCoS3 (Environmental Technologies for Contaminated Solids, Soils and Sediments, grant agreement FPA no. 2010-0009). The authors also thank grants from region Ile de France. Special thanks are given to Jessica Soave for her participation in experimental part of the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oleksandra Ganzenko
    • 1
  • Clement Trellu
    • 1
  • Stefano Papirio
    • 2
  • Nihal Oturan
    • 1
  • David Huguenot
    • 1
  • Eric D. van Hullebusch
    • 1
    • 3
  • Giovanni Esposito
    • 2
  • Mehmet A. Oturan
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Université Paris-Est, Laboratoire Géomatériaux et EnvironnementMarne-la-ValléeFrance
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of Cassino and Southern LazioCassinoItaly
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Engineering and Water TechnologyUNESCO-IHE Institute for Water EducationDelftNetherlands

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