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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

Photobioreactors based on microalgae-bacteria and purple phototrophic bacteria consortia: A promising technology to reduce the load of veterinary drugs from piggery wastewater

Lopez-Serna, Rebeca; Garcia, Dimas; Bolado, Silvia; Jose Jimenez, Juan; Lai, Foon Yin; Golovko, Oksana; Gago-Ferrero, Pablo; Ahrens, Lutz; Wiberg, Karin; Munoz, Raul


Traditional swine manure treatments are not fully effective in the removal of veterinary drugs. Moreover, they are costly and entail a significant carbon footprint in many cases. Innovative biological approaches based on phototrophic microorganisms have recently emerged as promising alternatives to overcome those limitations. This work evaluated the removal of 19 veterinary drugs (i.e., 16 antibiotics, 1 analgesic, 1 anti-parasitic and 1 hormone) from piggery wastewater (PWW) in two open photobioreactors (PBR) operated with a consortium of microalgae-bacteria (AB-PBR) and purple photosynthetic bacteria (PPB-PBR). Multiple hydraulic retention times (HRT), in particular 11, 8 and 4 days, were tested during stage I, II and III, respectively. Ten out of 19 target compounds were detected with inlet drug concentrations ranging from 'non-detected' (n.d.) to almost 23,000 ng L-1 for the antibiotic oxytetracycline. Moreover, three of the antibiotics (i.e., enrofloxacin, sulfadiazine and oxytetracycline) were found at concentrations above the analytical linearity range in some or all of the samples under study. AB-PBR supported higher removal efficiencies (REs) than PPB-PBR, except for danofloxacin. Overall, REs progressively decreased when decreasing the HRT. The highest REs (>90%) were observed for doxy-cycline (95 +/- 3%) and oxytetracycline (93 +/- 3%) in AB-PBR during stage I. The other drugs, except sulfadimidine that was the most recalcitrant, showed REs above 70% during stage I in the same photobioreactor. In contrast, removal was observed for danofloxacin in AB-PBR during stage III, sulfadimidine in PPB-PBR during stage III or marbofloxacin in PPB-PBR during the entire experiment. (C) 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Algal-bacterial processes; PPB; Contaminants of emerging concern; Emerging pollutants; Microcontaminants; Swine manure

Published in

Science of the Total Environment
2019, Volume: 692, pages: 259-266
Publisher: ELSEVIER