The biological decolorization of two industrial, spent textile reactive dyebaths was investigated using a suspended-growth, halophilic mixed culture fed with glucose. Dyebath I contained mainly Reactive Blue 19 (RB19), an anthraquinone dye, whereas dyebath II contained mainly Reactive Blue 21 (RB21), a phthalocyanine dye. Batch assays under anaerobic conditions with the two neutralized dyebaths resulted in 87 and 37% extent of decolorization for dyebaths I and II, respectively. The rate of glucose utilization and the extent of acetate production were impacted in the presence of each dyebath as compared to the control culture. However, dyebath decolorization occurred despite moderate culture inhibition. Reuse of a biologically renovated RB19-containing dyebath in the dyeing process resulted in reproducible but not identical cotton fabric shades as compared to a standard dyeing (i.e., control) using fresh water. This difference is attributed to a variable degree of RB19 aggregation during the dyeing process and is not related to the efficiency of the biodecolorization process. Further improvement of the redyeing efficiency will lead to the development of an in-plant, closed-loop decolorization system resulting in significant water conservation and minimization of textile pollutants such as salt and dyes.

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