Biogenic sulphide plays a major role on the riboflavin-mediated decolourisation of azo dyes under sulphate-reducing conditions

Francisco J. Cervantes, Javier E. Enríquez, Eden Galindo-Petatán, Héctor Arvayo, Elías Razo-Flores, Jim A. Field

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36 Scopus citations


The effect of high concentrations of sulphate on the reductive decolourisation of different azo dyes by anaerobic sludge was studied in batch cultures. Sludge cultures were pre-incubated under sulphate-reducing conditions prior addition of dyes. Little or no effects of sulphate (5-10 g sulphate l-1) on the rate of decolourisation of Reactive Orange 14 (RO14), Direct Blue 53 (DB53) and Direct Blue 71 (DB71) were observed when no external redox mediator was provided. However, an increase in sulphate concentration, in the presence of riboflavin (20 μM), enhanced the decolourisation of all dyes. The first-rate constant of decolourisation (k) was increased up to 2-, 3.6- and 2-fold for RO14, DB53 and DB71, respectively, by supplying high sulphate concentrations, compared to the controls lacking sulphate, in the presence of the redox mediator. Sulphate reduction did not take place during the course of azo reductions, but was only evident before dye addition and after complete decolourisation, suggesting azo dyes reduction out-competed sulphate reduction for the available reducing equivalents. The experimental data suggest that reduction of azo dyes by riboflavin, which had been reduced by biogenic sulphide, was the major mechanism implicated during decolourisations, which was corroborated by abiotic incubations. Riboflavin greatly accelerated the abiotic reduction of RO14, so that the k value was increased up to 44-fold compared to the control lacking riboflavin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1082-1089
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Microbial decolourisation
  • Redox mediator
  • Sulphate reduction
  • Textile wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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