Performance and microbial community variations of anaerobic digesters under increasing tetracycline concentrations

Yanghui Xiong, Moustapha Harb, Pei-Ying Hong

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47 Scopus citations


The impact of different concentrations of tetracycline on the performance of anaerobic treatment was evaluated. Results revealed that for all of the tested tetracycline concentrations, no major sustained impact on methane production was observed. Instead, a significant increase in propionic acid was observed in the reactor subjected to the highest concentration of tetracycline (20 mg/L). Microbial community analyses suggest that an alternative methanogenic pathway, specifically that of methanol-utilizing methanogens, may be important for ensuring the stability of methane production in the presence of high tetracycline concentrations. In addition, the accumulation of propionate was due to an increase in volatile fatty acids (VFA)-producing bacteria coupled with a reduction in propionate utilizers. An increase in the abundance of tetracycline resistance genes associated with ribosomal protection proteins was observed after 30 days of exposure to high concentrations of tetracycline, while other targeted resistance genes showed no significant changes. These findings suggest that anaerobic treatment processes can robustly treat wastewater with varying concentrations of antibiotics while also deriving value-added products and minimizing the dissemination of associated antibiotic resistance genes.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5505-5517
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): FCC/1/1971-06-01
Acknowledgements: The research reported in this publication was supported by the KAUST Center Competitive Funding Program grant (FCC/1/1971-06-01) awarded to P-Y Hong.


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