The fate and impact of TCC in nitrifying cultures.

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Journal Article
Water research, 2020, 178
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Triclocarban (TCC) is a highly effective antibacterial agent, which is widely used in a variety of applications and present at significant levels (e.g., 760 μg/L) in wastewater worldwide. However, the interaction between TCC and nitrifiers, important microbial cultures in wastewater treatment plants, has not been documented. This work therefore aimed to evaluate the fate of TCC in a nitrifying culture and its impact on nitrifiers in four long-term nitrifiers-rich reactors, which received synthetic wastewater containing 0, 0.1, 1, or 5 mg/L TCC. Experimental results showed that 36.7%-50.7% of wastewater TCC was removed by nitrifying cultures in stable operation. Mass balance analysis revealed that the removal of TCC was mainly achieved through adsorption rather than biodegradation. Adsorption kinetic analysis indicated that inhomogeneous multilayer adsorption was responsible for the removal while fourier transform infrared spectroscopy indicated that several functional groups such as hydroxyl, amide and polysaccharide seemed to be the main adsorption sites. The adsorbed TCC significantly deteriorated settleability and performance of nitrifying cultures. With an increase of influent TCC from 0 to 5 mg/L, reactor volatile suspended solids and effluent nitrate decreased from 1200 ± 90 mg/L and 300.81 ± 7.52 mg/L to 880 ± 80 and 7.35 ± 4.62 mg/L while effluent ammonium and nitrite increased from 0.41 ± 0.03 and 0.45 ± 0.23 mg/L to104.65 ± 3.46 and 182.06 ± 7.54 mg/L, respectively. TCC increased the extracellular polymeric substances of nitrifying cultures, inhibited the specific activities of nitrifiers, and altered the abundance of nitrifiers especially Nitrospira sp.. In particular, TCC at environmentally relevant concentration (i.e., 0.1 mg/L) significantly inhibited NOB activity and reduced NOB population.
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