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Comprehensive meta-analysis reveals the impact of non-biodegradable plastic pollution on methane production in anaerobic digestion

Gao, Zhenghui, Qian, Hang, Cui, Tianyi, Ren, Zongqiang and Wang, Xingjing 2024. Comprehensive meta-analysis reveals the impact of non-biodegradable plastic pollution on methane production in anaerobic digestion. Chemical Engineering Journal 484 , 149703. 10.1016/j.cej.2024.149703

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Plastics as emerging contaminants have been heavily accumulated in organic wastes (e.g. waste activated sludge and food waste), which have a dramatically different impact on the resource recovery from these organic wastes through anaerobic digestion. However, the reported studies differ significantly from each other, and a comprehensive analysis to reveal the complex effects of plastic pollution in organic wastes on methane production is still lacking. In this study, 28 articles were selected from three citation databases for meta-analysis according to the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses guidelines. Subgroup analysis was then performed to determine the effects of plastic type, particle size, and concentration on methane production and multiple physicochemical parameters. The meta-analysis showed that the mean effect size of plastic pollution on methane production was 0.93 [0.89, 0.98] (p < 0.05). The results also revealed that the presence of plastics negatively affected the organic content and enzyme activity, as well as increasing the reactive oxygen species. In addition, the effect of nanoplastics on these physicochemical parameters was more significant compared to microplastics, like highlighted by most studies. Finally, structural equation modelling quantified that plastic pollution affected methane production by two main pathways: inhibition of organic solubilisation and induction of reactive oxygen species. This information is helpful to a more profound understanding the underlying toxicity mechanisms of plastic pollution to methane production and provide guidance for future research.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1385-8947
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 March 2024
Date of Acceptance: 13 February 2024
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2024 10:59

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