Effect of ciprofloxacin antibiotic on the partial-nitritation process and bacterial community structure of a submerged biofilter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


  • A. Gonzalez-Martinez
  • A. Rodriguez-Sanchez
  • M. V. Martinez-Toledo
  • M. J. Garcia-Ruiz
  • E. Hontoria
  • F. Osorio-Robles
  • J. Gonzalez-Lopez

Research units

  • University of Granada


A partial-nitritation bench-scale submerged biofilter was used for the treatment of synthetic wastewater containing a high concentration of ammonium in order to study the influence of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin on the partial-nitritation process and biodiversity of the bacterial community structure. The influence of ciprofloxacin was evaluated in four partial-nitritation bioreactors working in parallel, which received sterile synthetic wastewater amended with 350. ng/L of ciprofloxacin (Experiment 1), synthetic wastewater without ciprofloxacin (Experiment 2), synthetic wastewater amended with 100. ng/L of ciprofloxacin (Experiment 3) and synthetic wastewater amended with 350. ng/L of ciprofloxacin (Experiment 4). The concentration of 100. ng/L of antibiotics demonstrated that the partial-nitritation process, microbial biomass and bacterial structure generated by tag-pyrosequencing adapted progressively to the conditions in the bioreactor. However, high concentrations of ciprofloxacin (350. ng/L) induced a decay of the partial-nitritation process, while the total microbial biomass was increased. Within the same experiment, the bacterial community experienced sequential shifts with a clear reduction of the ammonium oxidation bacteria (AOB) and an evident increase of Commamonas sp., which have been previously reported to be ciprofloxacin-resistant. Our study suggests the need for careful monitoring of the concentration of antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin in partial-nitritation bioreactors, in order to choose and maintain the most appropriate conditions for the proper operation of the system.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-287
Number of pages12
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Antibiotics, Ciprofloxacin, Fluoroquinolone, Partial-nitritation, Pyrosequencing, Wastewater

ID: 8886004