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Influence of hydraulic retention time on behavior of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes in aerobic granular reactor treating biogas slurry

Liao, Jie, Liu, Chaoxiang, Liu, Lin, Li, Jie, Fan, Hongyong, Ye, Jiaqi, Zeng, Zhichao
Frontiers of environmental science & engineering 2019 v.13 no.3 pp. 31
antibiotic resistance genes, biogas, fluoroquinolones, risk, sludge, slurries, sulfonamides, tetracyclines
The behavior of antibiotics and the corresponding resistance genes in aerobic granular reactors for treating biogas slurry under different hydraulic retention times (10.7 h, R1; 8 h, R2) was investigated in this study. The results indicated that the hydraulic retention time could affect the effluent concentrations and removal efficiencies of sulfonamides. The average removal rates of tetracyclines, fluoroquinolones, and sulfonamides were 63%, 46%, and 90% in R1, and 62%, 46%, and 86% in R2, respectively. Although the removal efficiencies of tetracyclines and fluoroquinolones were similar in both reactors, the respective accumulated concentrations of tetracyclines and fluoroquinolones in R1 were 7.00 and 11.15 µg/g SS, which were lower than those in R2 (8.92 and 13.37 µg/g SS, respectively). The difference in the relative abundance of target antibiotic resistance genes between both reactors was not significant, yet the average relative abundances of all target resistance genes in R1 were higher than those in R2 after 45 days of operation. The results of this study suggested that a longer hydraulic retention time could enhance the antibiotic removal ability of aerobic granular sludge, yet it may also increase the risk of surplus sludge utilization from a resistance genes point of view.