Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.105, No.3, 909-921, 2021
Removal of pharmaceuticals by ammonia oxidizers during nitrification
The adverse effect of pharmaceuticals on ecosystem and human health raises great interest for the removal of pharmaceuticals in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Enhanced removal of pharmaceuticals by ammonia oxidizers (AOs) has been observed during nitrification. This review provides a comprehensive summary on the removal of pharmaceuticals by AOs-ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB), ammonia oxidizing archaea (AOA), and complete ammonia oxidizer (comammox) during nitrification in pure ammonia oxidizing culture and mixed microbes systems. The superior removal of pharmaceuticals by AOs in conditions with nitrifying activity compared with the conditions without nitrifying activity was proposed. The contribution of AOs on pharmaceuticals removal in pure and mixed microbe systems was discussed and activated sludge modeling was suggested as the proper measure on assessing the contribution of AOs on the removal of pharmaceuticals in mixed microbe culture. Three transformation processes and the involved reaction types of pharmaceuticals transformation during nitrification were reviewed. The present paper provides a systematical summary on pharmaceuticals removal by different AOs across pure and mixed microbes culture during nitrification, which opens up the opportunity to optimize the wastewater biological treatment systems for enhanced removal of pharmaceuticals.