Spectroscopic Indicators for Cytotoxicity of Chlorinated and Ozonated Effluents from Wastewater Stabilization Ponds and Activated Sludge

Nedal Massalha, Shengkun Dong, Michael Jacob Plewa, Mikhail Borisover, Thanh Huong Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We investigated chronic mammalian cell cytotoxicity of wastewaters from four sources and their optical spectroscopic properties with or without chlorination or ozonation. Samples from effluents of activated sludge, nitrification tower, facultative waste stabilization pond, and maturation waste stabilization pond were either chlorinated or ozonated. The wastewater samples were analyzed for fluorescence excitation emission matrix, specific fluorescence index (SFI), and specific UV absorbance at 254 nm (SUVA). Before and after disinfection the wastewater samples were quantitatively analyzed for in vitro mammalian cell cytotoxicity. We found that the organic extracts from the ozonated samples induced lower cytotoxicity responses than those from the chlorinated or the nondisinfected samples. To develop correlations between SFI, SUVA, and cytotoxicity, we analyzed 21 independent samples. Significant linear correlations found among these samples suggest that under the tested conditions, cytotoxicity was preferentially influenced by the fluorescence and SUVA of their composite organic agents. These two spectroscopic parameters may be used as indicators for the potential cytotoxicity of nondisinfected, ozonated, or chlorinated municipal wastewaters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3167-3174
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 6 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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