The removal of a common azo dye, acid orange 7 (AO7), in biofilm systems was investigated in this study. The abiotic and biotic fate of AO7 was examined under a variety of operating conditions: aerobic nitrification, anoxic denitrification and anaerobic digestion. A comparison of the performance between biofilm and activated sludge treatment processes was made. The adsorption of AO7 onto biofilm matrix and activated sludge flocs was found to fit the Langmuir equation. However, there is a significant difference in the adsorption capacities between biofilm and activated sludge. AO7 was recalcitrant in both biofilm and activated sludge systems under aerobic conditions. Under anaerobic conditions, AO7 was readily decolorized. AO7 decolorization was also observed under anoxic conditions. However, the presence of nitrate inhibited AO7 decolorization.

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