Fate of cerium dioxide (CeO 2) nanoparticles in municipal wastewater during activated sludge treatment

Francisco Gómez-Rivera, James A. Field, Dustin Brown, Reyes Sierra-Alvarez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


This study investigated the fate of nano-CeO 2 during municipal wastewater treatment using a laboratory-scale activated sludge (A/S) system fed with primarily-treated municipal wastewater and nano-CeO 2 (55.0mg Ce/L). Nano-CeO 2 was highly removed during A/S treatment (96.6% total Ce). Extensive removal of CeO 2 <200nm was also attained and the concentration escaping treatment was only 0.11mg Ce/L. Elimination occurred mainly by aggregation and settling of CeO 2 particles, promoted by circumneutral pH values and by nanoparticle interactions with organic and/or inorganic wastewater constituents. Biosorption also contributed to CeO 2 removal as shown by sludge analysis and batch adsorption studies. Batch bioassays demonstrated that nano-CeO 2 only exerted inhibition of O 2 uptake by A/S at concentrations exceeding those in the bioreactor feed (50% inhibition at 950mg CeO 2/L). These findings indicate that A/S treatment is expected to provide extensive removal of nano-CeO 2 in municipal wastewaters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-304
Number of pages5
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Aerobic inhibition
  • Aerobic wastewater treatment
  • Biosorption
  • Nanoparticle removal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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