Removal of pharmaceutical compounds from urban wastewater by an advanced bio-oxidation process based on fungi Trametes versicolor immobilized in a continuous RBC system

Abstract

Conventional wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are not able to remove completely some emerging contaminants, such as residual pharmaceutical compounds (PCs) with potential ecotoxicity to water bodies. An advanced bio-oxidation process (ABOP) using white-rot fungi (WRF) has been proposed as alternative biological treatment for degradation of non-biodegradable compounds. A synthetic and real wastewater spiked with 12 PCs at 50 μg L−1 was treated by means of ABOP based on WRF in a rotating biological contactor (RBC) at 1 day of hydraulic retention time (HRT). The ABOP achieved a remarkable biological performance in terms of TOC removal and reduction of N-NH4 + and P-PO4 3− nutrients. Likewise, 5 of the 12 PCs were eliminated with removal efficiencies ranging from 80 to 95%, whereas 6 of 12 PCs were eliminated with removal values ranging from 50 to 70%. The anaerobic digestion of the fungal sludge generated upon the treatment was also evaluated, obtaining a methane yield of 250 mL CH4 gVS −1. These results evidenced that the proposed ABOP is a promising alternative for the sustainable wastewater treatment of urban effluents, combining advanced oxidation with biological operation for the removal of emerging PCs and energy recovery.

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Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of Regional Government of Madrid provided through project REMTAVARES (S2013/MAE-2716) and the European Social Fund and Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) in the frame of the collaborative international consortium WATERJPI2013-MOTREM of the Water Challenges for a Changing World Joint Programming Initiative (Water JPI) Pilot Call.

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del Álamo, A.C., Pariente, M.I., Vasiliadou, I. et al. Removal of pharmaceutical compounds from urban wastewater by an advanced bio-oxidation process based on fungi Trametes versicolor immobilized in a continuous RBC system. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 34884–34892 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-1053-4

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Keywords

  • White-rot fungi
  • Rotating biological contactor
  • Pharmaceutical compounds
  • Bio-methanogenic potential tests
  • Urban wastewater