Microbial Transformation of Pharmaceuticals Naproxen, Bisoprolol, and Diclofenac in Aerobic and Anaerobic Environments

  • Marja LahtiEmail author
  • Aimo Oikari


Although biotransformation is generally considered to be the main process by which to remove pharmaceuticals, both in sewage treatment plants and in aquatic environments, quantitative information on specific compounds is scarce. In this study, the transformations of diclofenac (DCF), naproxen (NPX), and bisoprolol (BSP) were studied under aerobic and anaerobic conditions using inocula taken from activated and digested sludge processes, respectively. Whereas concentration decays were monitored by LC–tandem mass spectrometry, oxygen consumption and methane production were used for the evaluation of the performance of overall conditions. DCF was recalcitrant against both aerobic and anaerobic biotransformation. More than one third of the BSP disappeared under aerobic conditions, whereas only 14% was anaerobically biotransformed in 161 days. Under aerobic conditions, complete removal of NPX was evident within 14 days, but anaerobic transformation was also efficient. Formation of 6-O-desmethylnaproxen, a previously reported aerobic metabolite, was also detected under anaerobic conditions and persisted for 161 days.


Activate Sludge Biotransformation Methane Production Bisoprolol Celiprolol 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The study was supported by grants from the Academy of Finland (No 109823) and the Finnish graduate school in Environmental Science and Technology. The authors thank Mervi Koistinen for technical assistance, the research group of Jukka Rintala for analytic tools to measure methane, and the research group of Leif Kronberg from Åbo Akademi University, Finland, for the synthesis of 6-O-desmethylnaproxen.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 14 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Division of Environmental Science and TechnologyUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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