Mitigated membrane fouling and enhanced removal of extracellular antibiotic resistance genes from wastewater effluent via an integrated pre-coagulation and microfiltration process.


CAS Key Laboratory of Urban Pollutant Conversion, Department of Applied Chemistry, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, 230026, China. Electronic address: [Email]


Antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) have been regarded as an emerging pollutant in municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents due to their potential risk to human health and ecological safety when reused for landscape and irrigation. Conventional wastewater treatment processes generally fail to effectively reduce ARGs, especially extracellular ARGs (eARGs), which are persistent in the environment and play an important role in horizontal gene transfer via transformation. Herein, an integrated process of pre-coagulation and microfiltration was developed for removal of ARGs, especially eARGs, from wastewater effluent. Results show that the integrated process could effectively reduce the absolute abundances of total ARGs (tARGs) (>2.9 logs) and eARGs (>5.2 logs) from the effluent. The excellent performance could be mainly attributed to the capture of antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) and eARGs by pre-coagulation and co-rejection during subsequent microfiltration. Moreover, the integrated process exhibited a good performance on removing common pollutants (e.g., dissolved organic carbon and phosphate) from the effluent to improve water quality. Besides, the integrated process also greatly reduced membrane fouling compared with microfiltration. These findings suggest that the integrated process of pre-coagulation and microfiltration is a promising advanced wastewater treatment technology for ARGs (especially eARGs) removal from WWTP effluents to ensure water reuse security.


Effluent,Extracellular antibiotic resistance genes,Membrane fouling mitigation,Microfiltration,Pre-coagulation,