Disinfection of ballast water with iron activated persulfate

Samyoung Ahn, Tawnya D. Peterson, Jason Righter, Danielle M. Miles, Paul G. Tratnyek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


The treatment of ballast water carried onboard ships is critical to reduce the spread of nonindigenous aquatic organisms that potentially include noxious and harmful taxa. We tested the efficacy of persulfate (peroxydisulfate, S 2O82-, PS) activated with zerovalent iron (Fe0) as a chemical biocide against two taxa of marine phytoplankton grown in bench-scale, batch cultures: the diatom, Pseudonitzshia delicatissima and the green alga, Dunaliella tertiolecta. After testing a range of PS concentrations (0-4 mM activated PS) and exposure times (1-7 days), we determined that a dosage of 4 mM of activated PS was required to inactivate cells from both species, as indicated by reduced or halted growth and a reduction in photosynthetic performance. Longer exposure times were required to fully inactivate D. tertiolecta (7 days) compared to P. delicatissima (5 days). Under these conditions, no recovery was observed upon placing cells from the exposed cultures into fresh media lacking biocide. The results demonstrate that activated PS is an effective chemical biocide against species of marine phytoplankton. The lack of harmful byproducts produced during application makes PS an attractive alternative to other biocides currently in use for ballast water treatments and merits further testing at a larger scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11717-11725
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 15 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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