The effect of ultrafiltration process on the fate of antibiotic-related microcontaminants, pathogenic microbes, and toxicity in urban wastewater

  • chair:

    Michael, S. G. / Drigo, B. / Michael-Kordatou, I. / Michael, C. /  Jäger, T. / Aleer, S. C. / Schwartz, T. / Donner, E. / Fatta-Kassinos, D. (2022)

  • place:

    Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2022, 435,128943

  • Date: April 2022
  • Abstract

    Ultrafiltration (UF) was assessed at chemical, microbiological, genetical and toxicological level and in terms of
    removing specific antibiotic-related microcontaminants from urban wastewater. The UF capacity to remove
    various antibiotics (clarithromycin, erythromycin, ampicillin, ofloxacin, sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim, and
    tetracycline; [A0] = 100 μg L 1) was optimised with respect to the feed recirculation rate (25–50%) and feed/
    transmembrane pressure (1.5–3/1.5–2.4 bar, respectively). Here, we tested the UF capacity to reduce the
    cultivable bacteria (faecal coliforms, total heterotrophs, Enterococci, Pseudomonas aeruginosa), enteric opportunistic
    pathogens, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic-resistance genes (ARGs) load.
    Moreover, the toxicity towards Daphnia magna and three plant species was investigated. Upon optimisation of
    UF, the removal of antibiotics ranged from 19% for trimethoprim to 95% for clarithromycin. The concentration
    of cultivable faecal coliforms in the permeate was significantly reduced compared to the feed (P < 0.001),
    whereas all the bacterial species decreased by more than 3 logs. A similar pattern of reduction was observed for the ARGs (P < 0.001) and enteric opportunistic pathogens (~3–4 logs reduction). A nearly complete removal of
    the antibiotics was obtained by UF followed by granular activated carbon adsorption (contact time: 90 min),
    demonstrating the positive contribution of such combination to the abatement of chemical microcontaminants.