Performance and bacterial community structure of a granular autotrophic nitrogen removal bioreactor amended with high antibiotic concentrations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Alejandro Rodriguez-Sanchez
  • Alejandro Margareto
  • Tatiana Robledo-Mahon
  • Elisabet Aranda
  • Silvia Diaz-Cruz
  • Jesus Gonzalez-Lopez
  • Damia Barcelo
  • Riku Vahala

  • Alejandro Gonzalez-Martinez

Research units

  • University of Granada
  • University of Girona


An autotrophic nitrogen removal bioreactor with granular biomass was exposed to high antibiotics concentration in order to evaluate its impact over the performance and the biomass of this bioprocess. A mixture of azithromycin, norfloxacin, trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole caused loss of autotrophic nitrogen removal performance, coupled to a deep change in the bacterial community diversity and structure of the granular biomass. Azithromycin, norfloxacin and trimethoprim were efficiently removed in the CANON bioreactor, reducing its concentration 77.9 ± 11.2%, 51.7 ± 10.7% and 57.8 ± 8.1%, respectively. The granular biomass changed significantly with the addition of the antibiotics, decreasing in settling velocity but increasing in compactness, losing its inner porous structure but developing a protective outer layer build of cell material. Prolonged operation under the antibiotics loading promoted the adaptation of multi-drug resistant fungus Scedosporium boydii fungal species and of Acidovorax ebreus TPSY, Alcaligenes aquatilis, Paracoccus versutus or Ochrobactrum antropii, which have been identified as human, animal and/or plant pathogens.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-269
Number of pages13
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Anammox, Antibiotic, Autotrophic nitrogen removal, CANON, Granular biomass, Microbial population

ID: 13574632