Fabricating biogenic Fe(III) flocs from municipal sewage sludge using NAFO processes: Characterization and arsenic removal ability

Huawei WANG, Dandan LIANG, Ya-nan WANG, Yingjie SUN, Weihua LI, Daoyong ZHANG, Yiu Fai TSANG, Xiangliang PAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


This study involved fabricating biogenic Fe(III) flocs enriched from municipal sludge using microbial nitrate-dependent anaerobic Fe(II)-oxidizing (NAFO) processes. The research focused on bacterial community compositions and physicochemical properties of the biogenic Fe(III) flocs and their ability to adsorb arsenic (As). High-throughput sequencing analysis showed that significant microbial succession occurs in the raw sludge after the NAFO processes. The predominant bacterial communities in the biogenic Fe(III) flocs included Rhodanobacter, Parvibaculum, Gemmatimonas and Segetibacter genera. Microscopic and spectroscopic analyses included scanning electron microscopy - energy disperse spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy. These tests indicated that biogenic Fe(III) flocs were a mixture of NAFO bacteria and nanosized, poorly crystalline Fe(III) oxide particles. Batch experiments showed that after 120 min of reaction time, more than 95% of As(III) and As(V) (at an initial concentrations of 0.25 mg/L) were effectively removed with 120 ppm biogenic Fe(III) flocs. In addition, biogenic Fe(III) flocs removed As more effectively than abiotic Fe(III) flocs. These findings indicated that biogenic Fe(III) flocs produced from municipal sludge using NAFO processes performed well in removing As. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-274
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Early online dateOct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


Sewage sludge
Raman spectroscopy
physicochemical property
FTIR spectroscopy
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy
community composition
scanning electron microscopy
X-ray diffraction
sewage sludge

Bibliographical note

Wang, H., Liang, D., Wang, Y.-N., Sun, Y., Li, W., Zhang, D., . . . Pan, X. (2019). Fabricating biogenic Fe(III) flocs from municipal sewage sludge using NAFO processes: Characterization and arsenic removal ability. Journal of Environmental Management, 231, 268-274. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.10.042


  • Biogenic Fe(III) flocs
  • NAFO
  • Bacterial community
  • Municipal sewage sludge
  • Arsenic removal