Environmental pollution by discharge of dye-containing effluents represents a serious ecological concern in many countries. Public demands for colour-free discharges to receiving waters have made decolouration of a variety of industrial wastewater a top priority. The current existing techniques for dye removal have several drawbacks such as high cost, low efficiency, use of large amounts of chemicals and formation of toxic sub-products. This has impelled the search for alternative methods such as those based on oxidative enzymes. This approach is believed to be a promising technology since it is cost-effective, environmentally friendly and does not produce sludge. Enzymatic transformation of synthetic dyes can be described as the conversion of dye molecules by enzymes into simpler and generally colourless molecules. Detailed characterisation of the metabolites produced during enzymatic transformation of synthetic dyes as well as ecotoxicity studies is of great importance to assess the effectiveness of the biodegradation process. However, most reports on the biotreatment of dyes mainly deal with decolouration and there are few reports on the reduction in toxicity or on the identification of the biodegradation products. This implies a limitation to assess their true technical potential.
Keywords: Biodegradation, enzymes, synthetic dyes, toxicity, wastewater
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