Groundwater pollution has increased in recent years due to the intensification of agricultural and livestock activities. This results in a significant reduction in available freshwater resources. Here, we have studied the long term assessment of a green technology (1–4 L/day) based on a photobioreactor (PBR) containing immobilised microalgae–bacteria in polyurethane foam (PF) followed by a cork filter (CF) for removing nitrates, pesticides (atrazine and bromacil), and antibiotics (sulfamethoxazole and sulfacetamide) from groundwater. The prototype was moderately effective for removing nitrates (58%) at an HRT of 8 days, while its efficiency decreased at a HRT of 4 and 2 days (<20% removal). The combined use of PBR-CF enabled antibiotics and pesticides to be attenuated by up to 95% at an HRT of 8 days, but their attenuation decreased with shorter HRT, with pesticides being the compounds most affected (reducing from 97 to 98% at an HRT of 8 days to 23–45% at an HRT of 2 days). Pesticide transformation products were identified after the CF, supporting biodegradation as the main attenuation process. A gene-based metataxonomic assessment linked the attenuation of micropollutants to the presence of specific pesticide biodegradation species (e.g. genus Phenylobacterium, Sphingomonadaceae, and Caulobacteraceae). Therefore, the results highlighted the potential use of microalgae and cork to treat polluted groundwater.

Assessment of a novel microalgae-cork based technology for removing antibiotics, pesticides and nitrates from groundwater

Rambaldo L.;Rizzo L.;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Groundwater pollution has increased in recent years due to the intensification of agricultural and livestock activities. This results in a significant reduction in available freshwater resources. Here, we have studied the long term assessment of a green technology (1–4 L/day) based on a photobioreactor (PBR) containing immobilised microalgae–bacteria in polyurethane foam (PF) followed by a cork filter (CF) for removing nitrates, pesticides (atrazine and bromacil), and antibiotics (sulfamethoxazole and sulfacetamide) from groundwater. The prototype was moderately effective for removing nitrates (58%) at an HRT of 8 days, while its efficiency decreased at a HRT of 4 and 2 days (<20% removal). The combined use of PBR-CF enabled antibiotics and pesticides to be attenuated by up to 95% at an HRT of 8 days, but their attenuation decreased with shorter HRT, with pesticides being the compounds most affected (reducing from 97 to 98% at an HRT of 8 days to 23–45% at an HRT of 2 days). Pesticide transformation products were identified after the CF, supporting biodegradation as the main attenuation process. A gene-based metataxonomic assessment linked the attenuation of micropollutants to the presence of specific pesticide biodegradation species (e.g. genus Phenylobacterium, Sphingomonadaceae, and Caulobacteraceae). Therefore, the results highlighted the potential use of microalgae and cork to treat polluted groundwater.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4785497
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