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Characterization of Molecular Weight–Based Fluorescent Organic Matter and Its Removal in Combination of Constructed Wetland with Activated Sludge Process

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Integrated constructed wetland into activated sludge process has a potential in improving treated wastewater with high organic loading. However, biological activities on those processes will generate microbial by-products from substrate metabolism and cell lysis. The presence of those compounds in effluent of wastewater treatment causes problems in source water. This study combines fluorescence excitation emission matrices (FEEM) with high-performance size exclusion chromatography with fluorescence detector (HPSEC-FLD) to characterize molecular weight–based fluorescent of organic matter and its removal in combination of constructed wetland with activated sludge process. The results show that three components of fluorescence organic: fulvic acid–like (Ex/Em 250/440 nm), SMP-like (Ex/Em 280/350 nm), humic acid–like (Ex/Em 340/420 nm), have been identified in all samples by the FEEM. Further, the HPSEC-FLD, which was set up based on chosen fluorescence wavelength, revealed two different apparent molecular weight (AMW) fractions: high molecular weight (HMW)/biopolymer (50,000 Da) and medium molecular weight (MMW)/humic substance–like (3000–650 Da). Peak-fitting determines that the area of MMW is higher than the area of HMW of all fluorescence organic components, and the area of HMW of fluorescence fulvic acid–like is comparable with the area of SMP-like, and no HMW of humic acid–like detected. Humic acid–like and fulvic acid–like were removed during treatment, while metabolite by-product were released as shown by increasing fluorescence SMP-like and TOC concentration. This method gives new insight to characterize organic matter for assessing effluent of wastewater quality and determining the appropriate water treatment.

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This research was financially supported by ASEAN-India Research Training Fellowship Program through Department Science and Technology (DST) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), India, with file no: RTF/2018/000021.

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Correspondence to Euis Nurul Hidayah.

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Hidayah, E.N., Pachwarya, R.B., Cahyonugroho, O.H. et al. Characterization of Molecular Weight–Based Fluorescent Organic Matter and Its Removal in Combination of Constructed Wetland with Activated Sludge Process. Water Air Soil Pollut 231, 41 (2020).

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