M. Harb, C.-H. Wei, N. Wang, G.L. Amy, P.-Y. Hong
Bioresource Technology, Volume 218, pp. 882-891, (2016)
Trace organic compounds, Bioreactor, Transcriptomics, Antibiotic resistance genes, MBR
Organic micro-pollutants (OMPs) are contaminants of emerging concern in wastewater treatment due to the risk of their proliferation into the environment, but their impact on the biological treatment process is not well understood. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of the presence of OMPs on the core microbial populations of wastewater treatment. Two nanofiltration-coupled membrane bioreactors (aerobic and anaerobic) were subjected to the same operating conditions while treating synthetic municipal wastewater spiked with OMPs. Microbial community dynamics, gene expression levels, and antibiotic resistance genes were analyzed using molecular-based approaches. Results showed that presence of OMPs in the wastewater feed had a clear effect on keystone bacterial populations in both the aerobic and anaerobic sludge while also significantly impacting biodegradation-associated gene expression levels. Finally, multiple antibiotic-type OMPs were found to have higher removal rates in the anaerobic MBR, while associated antibiotic resistance genes were lower.