Decoloration and chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal in tobacco wastewater by Fenton process has been optimized under 25 ± 2 °C. The results showed that the optimal range of conditions were pH 4.13–4.66, Fe2+ 0.29–0.34 g/L and H2O2 ≥ 2.73 g/L. Within this range, up to 95% of colour and 90% of COD was removed. In an enlarged system, setting the optimal conditions as pH 4.50, Fe2+ 0.34 g/L and H2O2 4.00 g/L, the colour removal rate was 96.03 ± 2.57%, with COD removal rate of 93.30 ± 2.92%. The residual COD of 73.67 ± 19.70 mg/L in effluent had hit the State's first-class standard for the industrial discharge in China (<100 mg/L COD, GB8978-1996). The ecological safety of Fenton process has also been evaluated. When reaction completed, the content of hydroxyl free radical (·OH) was 3.26 ± 0.44 mg/L. There was no inhibition of Fenton effluent in growth of Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas putida, Pseudomonas sp. HF-1, Acinetobacter sp. TW and Sphingomonas sp. TY. No oxidative stress was induced on strain HF-1 by Fenton effluent. Thus, Fenton process was one of high-efficiency and ecologically safe strategy for tobacco wastewater advanced treatment.

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