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Non-thermal plasma treatment of Radix aconiti wastewater generated by traditional Chinese medicine processing


Yiyong Wen , Jianping Yi , Shen Zhao , Song Jiang , Yuming Chi , Kefu Liu

DOI:10.1016/j.jes.2015.10.028

Received June 05, 2015,Revised October 28, 2015, Accepted October 30, 2015, Available online January 16, 2016

Volume 28,2016,Pages 99-108

The wastewater effluent from Radix aconiti processing, an important step in the production processes of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), is a type of toxic wastewater and difficult to treat. Plasma oxidation methods have emerged as feasible techniques for effective decomposition of toxic organic pollutants. This study examined the performance of a plasma reactor operated in a dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) to degrade the effluent from R. aconiti processing. The effects of treatment time, discharge voltage, initial pH value and the feeding gas for the reactor on the degradation of this TCM wastewater were investigated. A bacterium bioluminescence assay was adopted in this study to test the toxicity of the TCM wastewater after non-thermal plasma treatment. The degradation ratio of the main toxic component was 87.77% after 60 min treatment with oxygen used as feed gas and it was 99.59% when the initial pH value was 8.0. High discharge voltage and alkaline solution environment were beneficial for improving the degradation ratio. The treatment process was found to be capable of reducing the toxicity of the wastewater to a low level or even render it non-toxic. These experimental results suggested that the DBD plasma method may be a competitive technology for primary decomposition of biologically undegradable toxic organic pollutants in TCM wastewater.

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