Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are emerging contaminants of concern due to their health effects and persistence in the environment. Although perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs), such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) are very difficult to biodegrade because they are completely saturated with fluorine, it has recently been shown that Acidimicrobium sp. A6 (A6), which oxidizes ammonium under iron reducing conditions (Feammox process), can defluorinate PFAAs. A kinetic model was developed and tested in this study using results from previously published laboratory experiments, augmented with results from additional incubations, to couple the Feammox process to PFAS defluorination. The experimental results show higher Feammox activity and PFAS degradation in the A6 enrichment cultures than in the highly enriched A6 cultures. The coupled experimental and modeling results show that the PFAS defluorination rate is proportional to the rate of ammonium oxidation. The ammonium oxidation rate and the defluorination rate increase monotonically, but not linearly, with increasing A6 biomass. Given that different experiments had different level of Feammox activity, the parameters required to simulate the Feammox varied between A6 cultures. Nonetheless, the kinetic model was able to simulate an anaerobic incubation system and show that PFAS defluorination is proportional to the Feammox activity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
- Acidimicrobium sp. Strain A6
- Kinetic modeling