Removal and biotransformation pathway of antibiotic sulfamethoxazole from municipal wastewater treatment by anaerobic membrane bioreactor

Chunhai Wei, Claudia Sanchez Huerta, TorOve Leiknes, Gary L. Amy, Hong Zhou, Xiaodong Hu, Qian Fang, Hongwei Rong

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A lab-scale mesophilic anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) was used to treat synthetic municipal wastewater with variable concentrations of antibiotic Sulfamethoxazole (SMX) and bulk organics in this study. The removal and biotransformation pathway of SMX in the AnMBR were systematically investigated during a 170 d of operation under hydraulic retention time of 1 d. Average SMX removal was 97.1% under feed SMX of 10–1000 μg/L, decreasing to 91.6 and 88.0% under feed SMX of 10,000 and 100,000 μg/L due to the inhibition effects of high SMX loading rate on anaerobic microorganisms. SMX biotransformation followed pseudo-first order reaction kinetics based on SMX removal independent of feed SMX of 10–1000 μg/L during continuous operation and also in a batch test under initial SMX of 100,000 μg/L. According to the identified 7 transformation products (TPs) by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, the biotransformation pathway of SMX from municipal wastewater treatment via AnMBR was first proposed to consist of 2 primary routes: 1) Butylbenzenesulfonamide without antibiotic toxicity dominated under feed SMX of 10–100 μg/L; 2) Sulfanilamide with much lower antibiotic toxicity than SMX dominated under feed SMX of 1000–100000 μg/L, further transforming to secondary TPs (4-Aminothiophenol, Aniline, Acetylsulfanilamide) and tertiary TPs (4-Acetylaminothiophenol, Acetylaniline).
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120894
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - Jul 15 2019

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