This study was carried out in a protected area (Ronișoara Forest) in Romania. A combined approach of quality assessment of alluvial aquifers is employed, by determining the chemistry and applying two pollution indices based on heavy metals concentrations (HPI- Heavy metal Pollution Index and HEI- Heavy metal Evaluation Index), a quality assessment index based on specific physico-chemical indicators (WQI- the Water Quality Index) and different plots (Durov, Schoeller and TIS-Total Ion Salinity). The study revealed that waters are rich in manganese, calcium, sodium, sulphate, ammonium, manganese, iron, total dissolved solids, dominated by bicarbonates. The chemicals’ sources are related to the water–rock interactions and to mine exploitation activities. Correlations were observed between the electrical conductivity and sulphate, total dissolved solids and sulphate, and total hardness and electrical conductivity. The results based on the levels of heavy metals pollution indicate that the studied water samples are characterized by low, medium and high pollution levels, with values ranging between 0.40 and 234. The WQI scores vary from 8.6 to 54, generally indicating excellent and medium quality, and low quality for two samples. This research, one of the first in the area, can serve as a reference for the protection of natural water resources and for the contamination control of alluvial aquifers in the protected area of Ronișoara Forest.
In Apuseni Mountains (North-Western Romania), many of the inhabitants live in rural communities with limited or no access to the centralized and controlled water supply. This study assesses the microbiological quality of six karst spring waters from Bihor County used by rural communities as drinking water sources. Twenty-four water samples collected in January, April, June, and November 2021 were analyzed for E. coli , total coliforms, intestinal enterococci, Pseudomonas aeruginosa , and heterotrophic plate count at 37 and 22°C. Standard microbiological methods based on the membrane filter technique or pour plate method were used for the microbiological characterization of the spring waters. The study revealed that the karst springs from the studied area present microbiological contamination. The microbiological parameters for five out of the six studied spring waters exceeded the maximum limits allowed by the 98/83/EC Directive. Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment estimated the risk of gastrointestinal illness for both adults and children due to the enteropathogenic E. coli contamination. According to the health risk evaluation model, the risk of infection/day and the risk of infection/year were high, with the maximum values of 0.24 and 1.00, respectively. The probability of illness caused by E. coli contamination of water ranged between 0.09 and 0.35 for five out of six groundwater sources. The local communities using the contaminated springs are exposed to daily and accumulated health threats. Therefore, preventive measures accompanied by continuous monitoring are necessary mainly for those water sources that are critical drinking water sources for the rural communities.
The present study aimed to assess the in vitro antimicrobial effects of a novel biomaterial containing polylactic acid (PLA), nano-hydroxyapatite (nano-HAP) and Doxycycline (Doxy) obtained by electrospinning and designed for the non-surgical periodontal treatment. The antimicrobial activity of two samples (test sample, PLA-HAP-Doxy7: 5% PLA, nano-HAP, 7% Doxy and control sample, PLA-HAP: 5% PLA, nano-HAP) against two periodontal pathogens—Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans and Porphyromonas gingivalis—was assessed using the Kirby–Bauer Disk Diffusion Susceptibility Test and compared with the effect of four antibiotics used as adjuvants in periodontal therapy: Amoxicillin, Ampicillin, Doxy and Metronidazole. The test sample (embedded with Doxy) showed higher inhibitory effects than commonly used antibiotics used in the treatment of periodontitis, while the control sample showed no inhibitory effects. Moreover, significant differences were observed between the inhibition zones of the two samples (p < 0.05). The Doxy-loaded PLA nanofibres had an antimicrobial effect against the periodontal pathogens. Based on these results, the novel biomaterial could be a promising candidate as adjuvant for the non-surgical local treatment in periodontitis.
This study aimed to evaluate the influence of different power-time ultrasound regimes of pasteurization on the physical, chemical, organoleptic properties, and lipid quality indices of goat curds characterized by a low cholesterol level. Cholesterol was eliminated by a percentage of 92.1 % by treating the raw goat milk with beta-cyclodextrin in the proportion of 0.6 %. Afterward, the goat milk was subjected to the following ultrasound regimes: 320 W for 1 (PA1), 3 (PA3), and 6 minutes (PA6) and 881 W for 1 (PP1), 3 (PP3), and 6 minutes (PP6) and then used for the curds production. Due to the ultrasound treatment, the milk suffered a concentration phenomenon, the most accentuated being registered for the PP6 sample. Considering the sensory properties, the most appreciated curd was the one obtained by the PP6 regime which recorded the highest scores for color and taste. Regarding the microbiological aspects, the ability of ultrasounds to inactivate microorganisms is observed and the most accentuated phenomenon is reported in the PP6 case. Thus, in comparison with the control sample, the total number of germs is reduced by a proportion of 91.85 %, the β-glucuronidase-positive Escherichia coli decreased by 93.15 %, while the coagulase-positive staphylococci were completely inactivated for the PP6 curd. The curds obtained for the PA6 and PP6 regimes registered the highest dry matter values as a cause of an accentuated syneresis process. The acidity values were higher for the curds obtained for PA1, PA3, and PA6 regimens due to more pronounced lactose hydrolysis and lower in the cases of PP3 and PP6 regimens compared to the control cheese. Twenty-five saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids were identified in the curd samples and a rise in the unsaturated fatty acids proportion as the intensity of the applied ultrasound regime increased was observed. Also, AI, TI, and H/H lipid quality indices recorded better values as the power and time of the ultrasound action increased.
Measuring skin melanin concentration in order to assess skin phototype according to Fitzpatrick’s classification is a constant research goal. In this study, a new approach for assessing skin melanin concentration based on hyperspectral imaging combined with an appropriate analytical model that exploits specific spectral bands to generate maps of melanin content distribution on different Fitzpatrick skin phototypes is presented. Hyperspectral images from the proximal inner side of the forearms of fifty‐one young volunteers covering the first four classes of Fitzpatrick’s phototypes were acquired using a hyperspectral imaging system. The images were analyzed using a modified Beer–Lambert law that segregates the contribution of melanin from the other constituents to the skin absorption spectrum. The performance of the model was evaluated using the coefficient of determination (r‐squared). The results revealed that the approach proposed in this study generated accurate melanin concentration distribution maps that allowed a correct classification of skin phototype. In conclusion, the proposed approach for assessing skin melanin concentration proved to be very reliable for classifying skin phototypes, and, as it provides maps that are easily read, it has the advantage of a possible extension of its applications to other research concerning skin pigmentation.
Brewers’ spent grain (BSG), the main by-product of the brewing industry, is a rich source of minerals and water-soluble vitamins such as thiamine, pyridoxine, niacin, and cobalamin. Bioaccessibility through in vitro digestion is an important step toward the complete absorption of minerals and B group vitamins in the gastrointestinal system. Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) together with inductively coupled plasma quadrupole mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) was used for the quantification of the macro- and micro-minerals. An ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) system coupled with a diode array detector (DAD) was used for B group vitamin identification. Four different industrial BSG samples were used in the present study, with different percentages of malted cereals such as barley, wheat, and degermed corn. Calcium’s bioaccessibility was higher in the BSG4 sample composed of 50% malted barley and 50% malted wheat (16.03%), while iron presented the highest bioaccessibility value in the BSG2 sample (30.03%) composed of 65% Pale Ale malt and 35% Vienna malt. On the other hand, vitamin B1 had the highest bioaccessibility value (72.45%) in the BSG3 sample, whilst B6 registered the lowest bioaccessibility value (16.47%) in the BSG2 sample. Therefore, measuring the bioaccessibilty of bioactive BSG compounds before their further use is crucial in assessing their bioavailability.
The ability of natural zeolite amendment to reduce the uptake of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) by lettuce, spinach and parsley was evaluated using pot experiments. PTE concentrations in roots and shoots, as well as the pseudo total (PT), water soluble (WS) and bioavailable (BA) PTE fractions in the amended soils, were assessed. Although the PT PTE concentration was high, the WS fraction was very low (<0.4%), while the BA fraction varied widely (<5% for Cr, Mn and Co, <15% for Ni, Pb and Zn, >20% for Cd and Cu). PTE concentration decreased in both roots and shoots of all leafy vegetables grown on zeolite amended soils, especially at high amendment dose (10%). The uptake of PTEs mainly depended on plant species, PTE type and amendment dose. With the exception of Zn in spinach, the bioaccumulation factor for roots was higher than for shoots. Generally, lettuce displayed the highest PTE bioaccumulation capacity, followed by spinach and parsley. Except for Zn in spinach, the transfer factors were below 1 for all PTEs, all plant species and all amendment doses. Our results showed that the natural zeolites are promising candidates in the reclamation of contaminated soils due to their ability to immobilize PTEs.
Background Movile Cave (SE Romania) is a chemoautotrophically-based ecosystem fed by hydrogen sulfide-rich groundwater serving as a primary energy source analogous to the deep-sea hydrothermal ecosystems. Our current understanding of Movile Cave microbiology has been confined to the sulfidic water and its proximity, as most studies focused on the water-floating microbial mat and planktonic accumulations likely acting as the primary production powerhouse of this unique subterranean ecosystem. By employing comprehensive genomic-resolved metagenomics, we questioned the spatial variation, chemoautotrophic abilities, ecological interactions and trophic roles of Movile Cave’s microbiome thriving beyond the sulfidic-rich water. Results A customized bioinformatics pipeline led to the recovery of 106 high-quality metagenome-assembled genomes from 7 cave sediment metagenomes. Assemblies’ taxonomy spanned 19 bacterial and three archaeal phyla with Acidobacteriota , Chloroflexota , Proteobacteria , Planctomycetota , Ca. Patescibacteria, Thermoproteota , Methylomirabilota, and Ca. Zixibacteria as prevalent phyla. Functional gene analyses predicted the presence of CO 2 fixation, methanotrophy, sulfur and ammonia oxidation in the explored sediments. Species Metabolic Coupling Analysis of metagenome-scale metabolic models revealed the highest competition-cooperation interactions in the sediments collected away from the water. Simulated metabolic interactions indicated autotrophs and methanotrophs as major donors of metabolites in the sediment communities. Cross-feeding dependencies were assumed only towards 'currency' molecules and inorganic compounds (O 2 , PO 4 ³⁻ , H ⁺ , Fe ²⁺ , Cu ²⁺ ) in the water proximity sediment, whereas hydrogen sulfide and methanol were assumedly traded exclusively among distant gallery communities. Conclusions These findings suggest that the primary production potential of Movile Cave expands way beyond its hydrothermal waters, enhancing our understanding of the functioning and ecological interactions within chemolithoautotrophically-based subterranean ecosystems.
A study was carried out to investigate air deposition and to explore the natural distribution and contamination with potentially toxic elements (PTEs) in the Kumanovo Region, North Macedonia, by using moss samples as biomonitors for air pollution. The distribution of 51 elements was detected in 42 moss samples collected from this area. Moss samples were analyzed following microwave digestion by inductively coupled plasma–atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) and inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). It was found that the atmospheric deposition for some PTEs in the moss samples in specific parts of the study area is influenced by anthropogenic and urban activities. R-mode factor analysis was used to identify and characterize element associations, and six associations of elements were determined. Four factors were separated from the group of macroelements determined by ICP-AES: Factor 1 (Al, Cr, Fe, Li, Ni, V, and Zn), F2 (K, Mg, and P), F3 (Ba and Sr), and F4 (Cd, Pb, and Zn); and two associations were separated from the group of trace elements determined by ICP-MS: Factor 1 (As, Co, Cs, Ga, Ge, Sc, Ti, Y, Zr, and rare earth elements - REEs) and Factor 2 (Bi, Br, Hg, I, Sb, Sn, and W).
The structural, morphological and magnetic properties of MFe2O4 (M = Co, Ni, Zn, Cu, Mn) type ferrites produced by thermal decomposition at 700 and 1000 °C were studied. The thermal analysis revealed that the ferrites are formed at up to 350 °C. After heat treatment at 1000 °C, single-phase ferrite nanoparticles were attained, while after heat treatment at 700 °C, the CoFe2O4 was accompanied by Co3O4 and the MnFe2O4 by α-Fe2O3. The particle size of the spherical shape in the nanoscale region was confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. The specific surface area below 0.5 m2/g suggested a non–porous structure with particle agglomeration that limits nitrogen absorption. By heat treatment at 1000 °C, superparamagnetic CoFe2O4 nanoparticles and paramagnetic NiFe2O4, MnFe2O4, CuFe2O4 and ZnFe2O4 nanoparticles were obtained.
This paper presents a new approach based on hyperspectral imaging combined with an object‐oriented classification method that allows the generation of burn depth classification maps facilitating easier characterization of burns. Hyperspectral images of fourteen patients diagnosed with burns on the upper and lower limbs were acquired using a pushbroom hyperspectral imaging system. The images were analyzed using an object‐oriented classification approach that uses objects with specific spectral, textural, and spatial attributes as the minimum unit for classifying information. The method performance was evaluated in terms of overall accuracy, sensitivity, precision and specificity computed from the confusion matrix. The results revealed that the approach proposed in this study performed well in differentiating burn classes with a high level of overall accuracy (95.99±0.60%), precision (97.30±2.46%), sensitivity (97.23±3.02%), and specificity (98.02±1.98%). In conclusion, the object‐based approach for burns hyperspectral images classification can provide maps that can help surgeons identify with better precision different depths of burn wounds. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
The synthesis and characterization of a platform of novel functional fluorinated gradient copolymers soluble in liquid and supercritical CO2 is reported. These functional copolymers are bearing different types of complexing units (pyridine, triphenylphosphine, acetylacetate, thioacetate, and thiol) which are well-known ligands for various metals. They have been prepared by reversible addition–fragmentation chain-transfer (RAFT) polymerization in order to obtain well-defined gradient copolymers. The copolymers have been characterized by proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) spectroscopy, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry, thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), dynamical scanning calorimetry (DSC) and cloud point measurements in dense CO2. All the investigated metal-complexing copolymers are soluble in dense CO2 under mild conditions (pressure lower than 30 MPa up to 65 °C), confirming their potential applications in processes such as metal-catalyzed reactions in dense CO2, metal impregnation, (e.g., preparation of supported catalysts) or metal extraction from various substrates (solid or liquid effluents). Particularly, it opens the door to greener and less energy-demanding processes for the recovery of metals from spent catalysts compared to more conventional pyro- and hydro-metallurgical methods.
The current study was conducted to assess the level and spatial distribution of metal pollution in surface water, soil, and sediment samples from the Arieș River basin, located in central Romania, an area impacted by various mining and industrial operations. Several pollution indices, spatial distributions, cluster analyses, principal component analyses, and heat maps were applied for evaluating the contamination level with Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb, Mn, As, and Hg in the area. Based on the results of the Heavy-Metal Pollution Index and of the Heavy-Metal Evaluation Index of the surface-water samples, the middle part of the Arieș River basin, near and downstream of the gold mine impoundment, was characterized by high pollution levels. The metal concentration was higher near the tailing impoundment, with increased levels of Cu, Ni, Zn, and Pb in the soil samples and As, Cd, Pb, Na, K, Ca, Mn, and Al in the sediment samples. Ca (23.7–219 mg/L), Mg (2.55–18.30 mg/L), K (0.64–14.70 mg/L), Al (0.06–22.80 mg/L), and Mn (0.03–22.40 mg/L) had the most remarkable spatial variation among the surface-water samples, while various metal contents fluctuated strongly among the sampling locations. Al varied from 743 to 19,8 mg/kg, Fe from 529 to 11,4 mg/kg, Ca from 2316 to 11,8 mg/kg, and Mg from 967 to 2547 mg/kg in the soil samples, and Al varied from 3106 to 8022 mg/kg, Fe from 314 to 5982 mg/kg, Ca from 1367 to 8308 mg/kg, and Mg from 412 to 1913 mg/kg in the sediment samples. The Potential Ecological Risk Index values for soil and sediments were in the orders Cu > Ni > Pb > Hg > Cr > As > Mn > Zn > Cd and As > Cu > Cr > Cd > Pb > Ni > Hg > Mn > Zn, respectively, and the highest values were found around the gold mine impoundment.
Acheta domesticus (L.1758) has been recently accepted by the European Union as a novel food, being the third insect that has been approved for human consumption. Nowadays, researchers’ attention is focused on exploiting new protein sustainable sources, and, therefore, insect flour has gained more and more interest. Organic acids, fatty acids, amino acids, aroma volatile compounds, and minerals were analyzed through HPLC-RID (High-performance liquid chromatography), GC-MS (Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry), LC-MS (Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry), ITEX/GC-MS and AAS (Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry), respectively. Fermentation of the insect flour with Lactobacillus plantarum ATCC 8014 strain (Lp) leads to an increase in organic acids such as lactic, acetic, and oxalic, whilst citric acid decreases its value. SFA (saturated fatty acids) and MUFA (monosaturated fatty acids) groups were positively influenced by Lp fermentation; meanwhile, PUFA (polysaturated fatty acids) decreased during fermentation. A positive trend was observed for amino acids, aroma volatile content, and minerals enhancement during insect sourdough fermentation, mainly at 24 h of fermentation. Acheta domesticus (A. domesticus) sourdough fermentation represents a new tool that needs to be further exploited aiming to improve the nutritional qualities of the final products.
Increased concentrations of heavy metals in the environment are of public health concern, their removal from waters receiving considerable interest. The aim of this paper was to study the simultaneous adsorption of heavy metals (Cu, Cd, Cr, Ni, Zn and Pb) from aqueous solutions using the zeolitic volcanic tuffs as adsorbents. The effect of thermal treatment temperature, particle size and initial metal concentrations on the metal ions sorption was investigated. The selectivity of used zeolite for the adsorption of studied heavy metals followed the order: Pb > Cr > Cu > Zn > Cd > Ni. The removal efficiency of the heavy metals was strongly influenced by the particle sizes, the samples with smaller particle size (0–0.05 mm) being more efficient in heavy metals removal than those with larger particle size (1–3 mm). Generally, no relevant changes were observed in heavy metals removal efficiency for the treatment temperatures of 200 °C and 350 °C. Moreover, at a higher temperature (550 °C), a decrease in the removal efficiencies was observed. The Cd, Zn, Cu, Cr, Zn and Ni sorption was best described by Langmuir model according to the high values of correlation coefficient. The pseudo-first-order kinetic model presented the best correlation of the experimental data.
Soil contamination represents a serious and significant issue, especially when it comes to soil used in agricultural practices. This research was carried out in order to investigate the accumulation level of potentially toxic trace elements (Cr, Cd, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn) in soil and vegetables (Solanum lycopersicum and Daucus carota). The transfer of the trace elements from soil to vegetables and the potential risk assessment were studied as well. Results indicated relatively high levels of heavy metals. Cd, Cu and Pb exceeded the alert limits established by the Romanian legislation. Zn was high as well. Positive correlations between the Cr, Cu and Pb indicated similar source of pollution, possibly related to the activities occurred in the non-metallic facility, nearby the study area. The heavy metals determined in the Solanum lycopersicum fruits and Daucus carota roots were below the maximum allowable concentrations, according to the WHO/FAO guideline. Slightly higher amounts of Cr and Cu were measured in tomatoes, compared to the carrots. Nevertheless, carrots were richer in Ni and Mn. The applied pollution indices indicated a contamination with heavy metals in 90% of the soil samples, with 9% probability of toxicity, the remaining 10% being classified into the precaution domain category. The plant bioconcentration of heavy metals into the Solanum lycopersicum fruits and Daucus carota roots is characterized using transfer factors. Generally, the results indicate that Daucus carota was the most susceptible to uptake Cu and Mn, while Solanum lycopersicum would rather uptake Cd and Zn. The estimated non-carcinogenic risk, based on the human health risk indices, indicates that the studied vegetables are safe for consumption with no impact on the human health. The results are lower than the critical value. Similarly, the carcinogenic risk indices results showed acceptable risks of cancer developing. It is important to assess and monitor the heavy metals levels in soil and in the vegetables intended to be consumed, in order to prevent contamination and potential negative effects on the environment and implicitly on the human health. The obtained data can be used in remediation techniques, as well as in implementing control measures of heavy metal contamination in soil and vegetables.
Globally, as the population and the living standards expanded, so did the use of energy and materials. Renewable energy resources are being used to help address the energy issue and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Because lignocellulosic biomass resources are widely available and renewable, various processes are used to convert these resources into bioenergy. In the current study, two production processes were evaluated, namely the transformation of vine shoot waste into value-added biofuels, i.e., pellets/briquettes and bioethanol. The life cycle assessment (LCA) technique was used for simulating and documenting the environmental performance of two biomass waste to biofuels pathways, possible candidates for closing loops in the viticulture production, according to the circular economy models. The SimaPro software was used to perform the LCA. The results show that the pellets/briquettes production process has a lower negative influence on the studied environmental impact categories compared to the production of bioethanol.
In the present work, the capability of the volcanic tuff from Macicasu (Romania) to remove ammonia (NH3) from air with different contamination levels during 24 h of adsorption experiments was investigated. The natural zeolitic volcanic tuff was characterized using X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), the Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) method, inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The adsorption capacities varied between 0.022 mg NH3 g−1 zeolite and 0.282 mg NH3 g−1 zeolite, depending on the NH3 concentrations in the air and at the contact time. The nonlinear forms of the Langmuir and Freundlich isotherm models were used to fit the experimental data. Additionally, the adsorption of NH3 was studied using nonlinear pseudo-first-order (PFO), pseudo-second-order (PSO), and Elovich kinetic model. Based on the total volume of pores of used volcanic tuff, the NH3 was removed from the air both due to the physical adsorption of NH3 gas and the ion exchange of NH4+ (resulted from a reaction between NH3 and H2O adsorbed by the zeolite). Depending on the initial NH3 concentration and the amount of volcanic tuff, the NH3 concentrations can be reduced below the threshold of this contaminant in the air. The adsorption capacity of NH3 per unit of zeolite (1 g) varied in the range of 0.022–0.282 mg NH3 g−1 depending on the NH3 concentration in the air.
The main objective of this study is to present the distribution of different chemical elements in soil samples from the Skopje region, North Macedonia. To determine the level of presence of chemical elements, soil samples are collected from a total of 60 locations. From each location, from an area of 5 x 5 km2 samples of soil are collected: topsoil (0–5 cm) and subsoil (20–30 cm). The soil samples were analyzed for 69 elements by using two instrumental methods: inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) for macro-elements and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for trace elements. A factor analysis was applied to analyze the factors affecting the linear combination variables grouped at the same factor. Spatial distribution maps of each factor as well as distribution maps for the analyzed elements were prepared by universal kriging interpolation. It was found that the distribution of most elements follows the lithology of the examined area, except for some elements (Cd, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, Pb, and Zn) whose higher contents are found in the area of the city of Skopje as a result of urban and industrial activities (traffic, metal processing, fossil fuel combustion for heating).
The aim of this study was to investigate the use of natural zeolite as support for microbial community formation during wastewater treatment. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), thermal decomposition and differential thermogravimetric curves (TGA/DGT) techniques were used for the physicochemical and structural characterization of zeolites. The chemical characterization of wastewater was performed before and after treatment, after 30 days of using stationary zeolite as support. The chemical composition of wastewater was evaluated in terms of the products of nitrification/denitrification processes. The greatest ammonium (NH4+) adsorption was obtained for wastewater contaminated with different concentrations of ammonium, nitrate and nitrite. The wastewater quality index (WWQI) was determined to assess the effluent quality and the efficiency of the treatment plant used, showing a maximum of 71% quality improvement, thus suggesting that the treated wastewater could be discharged into aquatic environments. After 30 days, NH4+ demonstrated a high removal efficiency (higher than 98%), while NO3+ and NO2+ had a removal efficiency of 70% and 54%, respectively. The removal efficiency for metals was observed as follows (%): Mn > Cd > Cr > Zn > Fe > Ni > Co > Cu > Ba > Pb > Sr. Analysis of the microbial diversity in the zeolite samples indicated that the bacteria are formed due to the existence of nutrients in wastewater which favor their formation. In addition, the zeolite was characterized by SEM and the results indicated that the zeolite acts as an adsorbent for the pollutants and, moreover, as a support material for microbial community formation under optimal conditions. Comparing the two studied zeolites, NZ1 (particle size 1–3 mm) was found to be more suitable for wastewater treatment. Overall, the natural zeolite demonstrated high potential for pollutant removal and biomass support for bacteria community growth in wastewater treatment.
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