Enzymatic oxidation of phenolic compounds in coffee processing wastewater

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Peroxidases can be used in the treatment of wastewater containing phenolic compounds. The effluent from the wet processing of coffee fruits contains high content of these pollutants and although some studies propose treatments for this wastewater, none targets specifically the removal of these recalcitrant compounds. This study evaluates the potential use of different peroxidase sources in the oxidation of caffeic acid and of total phenolic compounds in coffee processing wastewater (CPW). The identification and quantification of phenolic compounds in CPW was performed and caffeic acid was found to be the major phenolic compound. Some factors, such as reaction time, pH, amount of H2O2 and enzyme were evaluated, in order to determine the optimum conditions for the enzyme performance for maximum oxidation of caffeic acid. The turnip peroxidase (TPE) proved efficient in the removal of caffeic acid, reaching an oxidation of 51.05% in just 15 minutes of reaction. However, in the bioremediation of the CPW, the horseradish peroxidase (HRP) was more efficient with 32.70% ± 0.16 of oxidation, followed by TPE with 18.25% ± 0.11. The treatment proposed in this work has potential as a complementary technology, since the efficiency of the existing process is intimately conditioned to the presence of these pollutants.

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