Biodegradation aspects of ibuprofen and identification of ibuprofen-degrading microbiota in an immobilized cell bioreactor

  • Efstathia Navrozidou
  • Paraschos Melidis
  • Spyridon NtougiasEmail author
Research Article


An enrichment process was employed by applying high ibuprofen concentration in an immobilized cell bioreactor in order to favor the ibuprofen-degrading community present in activated sludge. Experimental data showed the ability of the immobilized cell bioreactor to achieve high ibuprofen removal efficiencies (98.4 ± 0.3%), the tendency of the enriched biomass to acidify the treated liquor, and the inhibition of the nitrification process. Illumina sequencing revealed a massive increase in the relative abundance of Alphaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria (from 29.1 to 80.8%) and a dramatic decrease in the proportion of Bacteroidetes, Planctomycetes, and Verrucomicrobia (from 42.7 to 2.1%) when pure ibuprofen served as the sole carbonaceous feeding substrate. This shift in the feeding conditions resulted in the predominance of Novosphingobium and Rhodanobacter (25.5 ± 10.8% and 25.2 ± 3.0%, respectively) and demonstrated a specialized ibuprofen-degrading bacterial community in activated sludge, which possessed the selective advantage to cope with its degradation. To the best of our knowledge, this bioreactor system was capable of effectively treating the highest ibuprofen concentration applied in wastewater treatment plants.


Ibuprofen-degrading bacteria Immobilized cell bioreactor Acidification Novosphingobium Rhodanobacter Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) degradation 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 266 kb)
11356_2019_4771_MOESM2_ESM.docx (47 kb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 47 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Spyridon Ntougias, Laboratory of Wastewater Management and Treatment Technologies, Department of Environmental EngineeringDemocritus University of ThraceXanthiGreece

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