Removal of nickel(II) from wastewater using a zeolite-packed anaerobic bioreactor: Bacterial diversity and community structure shifts

Jonathan Parades-Aguilar, Viviana Reyes-Martínez, Guadalupe Bustamante, Francisco J. Almendáriz-Tapia, Guadalupe Martínez-Meza, Ramiro Vílchez-Vargas, Alexander Link, María T. Certucha-Barragán, Kadiya Calderón*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In recent years, overexploited industrialization and urbanization activities have led to significant amounts of heavy metals released into the environment. Metal ion contamination of water, especially with toxic metals such as nickel(II) [Ni(II)], which is extensively applied in the electroplating industry, has been a serious problem. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the Ni(II) removal from real industrial wastewater using a 2 L, lab-scale, up-flow, anaerobic, zeolite-packed bioreactor inoculated with a heterotrophic consortium as the bioadsorbent. High-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA genes revealed significant shifts in their bacterial diversity and structural composition along the bioreactor treatment location, where the bacterial genus was dominated by Kosmotogae followed by Firmicutes as Ruminococcus and Clostridium. However, Fervidobacterium and the Geobacter genus were absent at the end of the bioreactor treatment, suggesting that they play a key role in the beginning of Ni(II) removal anaerobic treatment. The physico-chemical results revealed that the Ni(II) removal rate was 99% for 250–500 ppm metal tested, with an efficient alkalinity rate and high production of biogas, which confirmed that anaerobic digestion of microorganisms was successfully performed through the process. Finally, this anaerobic bioreactor configuration offers an accessible and ecofriendly high-rate metal removal strategy from mining and electroplating effluents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111558
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Departamento de Investigación y Posgrado (DIP) from the University of Sonora ( USO316005111 ) and by the “European Regional Development Fund” of the European Commission . We also thank Dr. M. Yancy Lucas for kindly revising the English language. The authors thank 3 TE Connectivity for providing their electroplating facilities (Hermosillo, Sonora). We would also like to thank the Cervecería Modelo wastewater treatment plant (Ciudad Obregón, Sonora) for providing anaerobic sludge inoculum.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Anaerobic bioreactor
  • Bacterial community
  • Nickel
  • Zeolite


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