Removal of antibiotic residues, antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes in municipal wastewater by membrane bioreactor systems

Thai Hoang Le, Charmaine Ng, Ngoc Han Tran, Hongjie Chen, Karina Yew Hoong Gin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

258 Scopus citations

Abstract

Antibiotic residues, antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) are considered new classes of water contaminants due to their potential adverse effects on aquatic ecosystems and human health. This paper provides comprehensive data on the occurrences of 19 antibiotics, bacteria resistant to 10 antibiotics, and 15 ARGs in raw influent and different treatment stages of conventional activated sludge (CAS) and membrane bioreactor (MBR) systems. Seventeen out of the 19 target antibiotics were detected in raw influent with concentrations of up to ten micrograms per liter. Concentrations of antibiotics measured in the secondary effluent were much lower compared to those in the raw influent. Among the antibiotics, amoxicillin, azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, chloramphenicol, meropenem, minocycline, oxytetracycline, sulfamethazine and vancomycin had highest removal by CAS or MBR systems with median removal efficiency (RE) > 70%, while trimethoprim and lincomycin were recalcitrant in the CAS system with median RE <50%. Similarly, the target ARB and ARGs were omnipresent in the raw influent samples with average concentrations as high as 2.6 × 106 CFU/mL and 2.0 × 107 gene copies/mL, respectively. The concentrations of ARB in secondary effluent of the CAS system declined relative to the raw influent (i.e. lower than raw influent by 2–3 orders of magnitude) and no ARB were detected in the MF permeate of the MBR system. For ARGs, their concentrations in secondary effluent/MF permeate ranged from below method quantification limit (<MQL) to 104 gene copies/mL. It is noteworthy that several ARGs, i.e. blaKPC, blaNDM, blaSHV, ermB, intI1, sul1 and tetO, were still found in the MF permeate of the MBR system at average concentrations up to 103 copies/mL. In conclusion, MBR outperformed CAS in the elimination of ARB, ARGs and most target antibiotics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-508
Number of pages11
JournalWater Research
Volume145
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) conventional activated sludge (CAS)
  • Antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB)
  • Antibiotics (ABs)
  • Membrane bioreactor (MBR)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Removal of antibiotic residues, antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes in municipal wastewater by membrane bioreactor systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this