Ethidium Bromide Waste Treatment with Activated Charcoal

Siska Novania, Adhana Riyadani Putri Widagdo, Dita Meilia Prihatiningrum, Shifa Fauziyah, Teguh Hari Sucipto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ethidium bromide (EtBr) is a chemical agent commonly used to identify and visualize the bonding of DNA and RNA in molecular biology research. However, ethidium bromide itself is mutagenic and toxic. Ethidium bromide also has carcinogenic properties to human cells, teratogenic, and difficult to decompose. Therefore, a research for the treatment of EtBr waste is very important. There are several materials that can be used to reduce EtBr waste, but there is also needed a material which is cheap and widely available in the market. One of the methods to treat ethidium bromide waste is using activated charcoal. Activated charcoal has strong adsorption capacity due to its high surface area and porous structure. Another advantage of activated charcoal as an adsorbent is economical, effective, and environmentally friendly. In this study, EtBr waste was mixed with activated charcoal then homogenized for one hour. The mixing of EtBr waste (0.5 mg/mL concentration of EtBr) and activated charcoal was varied with a ratios weight by volume of 1:1, 1:2, and 2:1. The mixture of the solution was filtered using Whatmann filter paper No.1 to take the filtrate. The filtrate was further analyzed. The more activated charcoal was added, the more EtBr molecules were adsorbed. The pH in the filtration results for each variation was pH 7.0-8.0, dissolved oxygen with range 5.0-9.0 mg/L, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) with range 25.06-78.2 mg/L, and chemical oxygen demand (COD) with range 302.56-310.98 mg/L. The concentration range was obtained as follows, for a 1:1 ratio of 0.045-0.060 mg/mL, for a 1:2 ratio of 0.028-0.032 mg/mL, while a 2:1 ratio of 0.081-0.090 mg/mL. In addition, the results showed that activated charcoal was able to bind Ethidium bromide due to bond interactions that occur between the EtBr molecule and activated charcoal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-145
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Activated charcoal
  • Adsorption
  • Chemical waste
  • Ethidium bromide
  • Waste treatment


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