Enhanced biodegradation of ciprofloxacin by enrich nitrifying sludge: assessment of removal pathways and microbial responses
Water Science and Technology
Antibiotics are mostly collected by sewage systems, but not completely removed within wastewater treatment plants. Their release to aquatic environment poses great threat to public health. This study evaluated the removal of a widely used fluoroquinolone antibiotic ciprofloxacin in enriched nitrifying culture through a series of experiments by controlling ammonium concentrations and inhibiting functional microorganisms. The removal efficiency of ciprofloxacin at an initial concentration of 50
... L−1 reached 81.86 ± 3.21% in the presence of ammonium, while only 22.83 ± 8.22% of ciprofloxacin was removed in its absence. The positive linear correlation was found between the ammonia oxidation rate (AOR) and ciprofloxacin biodegradation rate. These jointly confirmed the importance of the AOB-induced cometabolism in ciprofloxacin biodegradation with adsorption and metabolic degradation pathways playing minor roles. The continuous exposure of AOB to ciprofloxacin led to decreases of ammonia monooxygenase (AMO) activities and AOR. The antibacterial effects of ciprofloxacin and its biodegradation products were further evaluated and the results revealed that biodegradation products of ciprofloxacin exhibited less toxicity compared to the parent compound, implying the potential application of cometabolism in alleviation of antimicrobial activity. The findings provided new insights into the AOB-induced cometabolic biodegradation of fluoroquinolone antibiotics.