American Chemical Society
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Unraveling the Role of Microalgae in Mitigating Antibiotics and Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Photogranules Treating Antibiotic Wastewater

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-10-27, 08:30 authored by Claude Kiki, Dan Qin, Lin Liu, Min Qiao, Bob Adyari, Binessi Edouard Ifon, Adenike B. E. Adeoye, Longji Zhu, Li Cui, Qian Sun
Harnessing the potential of specific antibiotic-degrading microalgal strains to optimize microalgal-bacterial granular sludge (MBGS) technology for sustainable antibiotic wastewater treatment and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) mitigation is currently limited. This article examined the performance of bacterial granular sludge (BGS) and MBGS (of Haematococcus pluvialis, an antibiotic-degrading microalga) systems in terms of stability, nutrient and antibiotic removal, and fate of ARGs and mobile genetic elements (MGEs) under multiclass antibiotic loads. The systems exhibited excellent performance under none and 50 μg/L mixed antibiotics and a decrease in performance at a higher concentration. The MBGS showed superior potential, higher nutrient removal, 53.9 mg/L/day higher chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal, and 5.2–8.2% improved antibiotic removal, notably for refractory antibiotics, and the system removal capacity was predicted. Metagenomic analysis revealed lower levels of ARGs and MGEs in effluent and biomass of MBGS compared to the BGS bioreactor. Particle association niche and projection pursuit regression models indicated that microalgae in MBGS may limit gene transfers among biomass and effluent, impeding ARG dissemination. Moreover, a discrepancy was found in the bacterial antibiotic-degrading biomarkers of BGS and MBGS systems due to the microalgal effect on the microcommunity. Altogether, these findings deepened our understanding of the microalgae’s value in the MBGS system for antibiotic remediation and ARG propagation control.