Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 100, Issue 18, pp 8213–8223 | Cite as

Removal of pharmaceuticals from synthetic wastewater in an aerobic granular sludge membrane bioreactor and determination of the bioreactor microbial diversity

  • Xiao-chun Wang
  • Ji-min Shen
  • Zhong-lin ChenEmail author
  • Xia ZhaoEmail author
  • Hao Xu
Environmental biotechnology


Five types of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) substances were selected as pollutants in this study. The effects of the removal of these pollutants and the microbial succession process in a granular sludge membrane bioreactor (GMBR) were investigated. Results showed that wastewater containing PPCPs influenced the performance of granular sludge. The removal of the five PPCPs from the GMBR had different effects. The removal rates of prednisolone, norfloxacin and naproxen reached 98.5, 87.8 and 84 %, respectively. The degradation effect in the GMBR system was relatively lower for sulphamethoxazole and ibuprofen, with removal efficiency rates of 79.8 and 63.3 %, respectively. Furthermore, the microbial community structure and diversity variation of the GMBR were analysed via high-throughput sequencing technology. The results indicated the structural and functional succession of the microbial community based on the GMBR process. The results indicate the key features of bacteria with an important role in drug degradation.


Solexa sequencing GMBR PPCPs treatment Microbial diversity 



This study was funded by the Knowledge Innovation Programme of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Y025014EA2) and the Key Research Programme of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KZZD-EW-09-1) and State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment (Harbin Institute of Technology) (2014TS03) and Provincial Natural Science Foundation of Gansu (1506RJZA102).

Compliance with ethical standards


This study was funded by Y025014EA2, KZZD-EW-09-1, 2014TS03 and 1506RJZA102.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment, School of Municipal & Environmental EngineeringHarbin Institute of TechnologyHarbinChina
  2. 2.College of Petrochemical TechnologyLanzhou University of TechnologyLanzhouChina

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