Evaluation of a continuous flow microbial fuel cell for treating synthetic swine wastewater containing antibiotics.

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Journal Article
Science of the Total Environment, 2021, 756, pp. 144133-144133
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Microbial fuel cell (MFC) systems are promising technologies for wastewater treatment and renewable energy generation simultaneously. Performance of a double-chamber microbial fuel cell (MFC) to treat synthetic swine wastewater containing sulfonamide antibiotics (SMs) was evaluated in this study. The MFC was operated in continuous modes at different conditions. Results indicated that the current was successfully generated during the operation. The performance of MFC under the sequential anode-cathode operating mode is better than that under the single continuous running mode. Specifically, higher removal efficiency of chemical oxygen demand (>90%) was achieved under the sequential anode-cathode operating mode in comparison with that in the single continuous mode (>80%). Nutrients were also be removed in the MFC's cathode chamber with the maximum removal efficiency of 66.6 ± 1.4% for NH4+-N and 32.1 ± 2.8% for PO43--P. Meanwhile, SMs were partly removed in the sequential anode-cathode operating with the value in a range of 49.4%-59.4% for sulfamethoxazole, 16.8%-19.5% for sulfamethazine and 14.0%-16.3% for sulfadiazine, respectively. SMs' inhibition to remove other pollutants in both electrodes of MFC was observed after SMs exposure, suggesting that SMs exert toxic effects on the microorganisms. A positive correlation was found between the higher NH4+-N concentration used in this study and the removal efficiency of SMs in the cathode chamber. In short, although the continuous flow MFC is feasible for treating swine wastewater containing antibiotics, its removal efficiency of antibiotics requires to be further improved.
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