Effective removal of odor substances using intimately coupled photocatalysis and biodegradation system prepared with the silane coupling agent (SCA)-enhanced TiO2 coating method

Shiyuan Fu, Xinyu Zhao, Zhou Zhou, Mengyan Li, Liang Zhu

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31 Scopus citations


Intimately coupled photocatalysis and biodegradation (ICPB) combining photocatalysis with microbial degradation is an attractive wastewater treatment technology. However, when prepared in conventional ways, the supported-photocatalysts aggregate frequently, detach easily from carriers, and prohibit the colonization of microorganisms inside the carriers. To overcome these challenges, silane coupling agent (SCA)-enhanced TiO2 coating method is developed in this study. The coupling agent γ-glycidoxypropyltrimethoxysilane (KH560) greatly enhanced the adhesion between photocatalysts and the carrier through ether and Ti-O-Si linkages. The dense TiO2 layer was firmly adhered to the carrier outer surface, and the loading amount reached 351.8±8.2 mg/g, over ten times higher than using the powder sintering method (31.5±2.4 mg/g). In the ICPB system constructed with the KH560-enhanced TiO2-supported polyurethane sponge (KH560-TiO2-PU) carriers, removal efficiencies of two model odor substances, 2-methylisoborneol (2-MIB) and geosmin (GSM), reached 88.9±0.3% and 85.0±1.0% in 12 h at an initial concentration of 500 ng/L respectively, which were 17.7±0.6% and 19.4±0.4% greater than those of the ICPB system prepared with the powder sintering method. After 5 operating cycles, the novel ICPB system remained stable with high 2-MIB and GSM removal efficiencies, reaching 89.9±0.8% and 86.1±0.2% respectively after 12h, while TiO2 peeling ratio was as low as 5.0±2.8%. Biofilms attached onto the carrier inner surface were resilient over the operating cycles with the increase of both richness and diversity of microbial communities. Analysis of biofilm microbial community and pollutant degradation pathways revealed the enhanced removal of 2-MIB and GSM in the novel ICPB system might be attributed to multiple factors. First, the alleviated aggregation and increased adhesion of photocatalysts onto carriers improved the overall photocatalysis efficiency. Second, biofilm inside of the carrier was protected and the microbial activity was well remained. Third, photocatalytic intermediate products were efficiently biodegraded by the enriched functional microbial populations, such as Thauera and Flavobacterium, with little concern of excessive oxidation. Collectively, this research provides a new technological solution that synergizes photocatalysis and biodegradation for effective removal of odorous substances in polluted natural water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116569
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


  • 2-Methylisoborneol (2-MIB)
  • Geosmin (GSM)
  • Intimately coupled photocatalysis and biodegradation (ICPB)
  • Silane coupling agent
  • TiO


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