A Two-Step Approach to Eliminate Pesticides and Estrogens from a Wastewater and Reduce Its Phytotoxicity: Adsorption onto Plant-Derived Materials and Fungal Degradation

  • Elisabetta LoffredoEmail author
  • Giancarlo Castellana
  • Eren Taskin


In this study, adsorption and biodegradation were exploited sequentially to remove the herbicide fenuron, the insecticide carbaryl and the estrogens 17β-estradiol (E2) and 4-tert-octylphenol (OP) from a municipal landfill leachate (MuLL). In the first step, we used spent coffee grounds, almond shells, a biochar and potato dextrose agar to adsorb the compounds spiked in MuLL at a concentration of 1 mg L−1. After only 3 days, any adsorbent removed from MuLL the totality of E2 and OP, averagely more than 95 % of carbaryl and 62 % of fenuron (81 % after 7 days). In the second step, the adsorbents collected from MuLL after 7 days were inoculated with the fungi Bjerkandera adusta and Irpex lacteus, separately. After 7 days, the maximum degradation occurred for OP in any treatment being averagely 78 and 74 % using B. adusta and I. lacteus, respectively. After 15 days, the average percentages of fenuron, carbaryl, E2 and OP degraded were, respectively, 75, 76, 88 and 88 % using B. adusta, and 74, 79, 85 and 89 % using I. lacteus. Residual estrogenicity in the adsorbents, tested with the recombinant yeast assay, was strictly related to residual E2, thus indicating a negligible contribution from the other contaminants and/or degradation products. The 7-day treatment of MuLL with the adsorbents caused a significant abatement of MuLL phytotoxicity on flax (2.5 times seedling elongation with coffee grounds, compared to MuLL) and a huge stimulation of rapeseed respect to water (biomass almost doubled), thus suggesting a possible worthwhile recycling of this wastewater in agriculture.


Wastewater Estrogen White rot fungus Plant-derived adsorbent Biodegradation Estrogenicity 



This work was funded by the University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisabetta Loffredo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Giancarlo Castellana
    • 1
  • Eren Taskin
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze del Suolo, della Pianta e degli AlimentiUniversity of Bari Aldo MoroBariItaly

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