Wastewater is an important source of micropollutants (MPs), antibiotics, and antibiotic resistance. However, the main goal of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) is to remove organic components and nutrients from wastewater instead of MPs, bacteria, and genes. Thus, the effectiveness of wastewater treatment technologies in removing MPs and antibiotic resistance has received widespread attention.
Aerobic granular sludge (AGS) is becoming a wellestablished technology for wastewater treatment due to its compactness, energy savings, and good effluent quality. With the development of AGS technology, it has been adapted to the commercial scales (Nereda@ technology). However, the effectiveness of Nereda@ technology in removing MPs and antibiotic resistance remains unclear, and the most important mechanisms controlling the removal of these contaminants and the dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) still need to be studied. Thus, the aim of this study is to investigate the fate and removal of antibiotics and
antibiotic resistance, explore their possible determinants, and clarify the potential removal and dissemination mechanisms in full-scale Nereda@ plants.
- Antibiotics and fecal indicator organisms (E.coli) have multiple removal pathways, such as sorption, biodegradation, attachment, and predation. In this study, the main removal pathway of antibiotics and E.coli and the different dissemination patterns of antibiotic resistance genes in granules and flocs will be clarified. The possible determinants of removal and dissemination, like hydraulic retention time, will be explored.
- Influent, including antibiotic, microbial communities, and antibiotic resistome, is an essential vector for the spread of antibiotic resistance. The potential contribution of antibiotic resistome in the influent to the antibiotic resistome in granules and flocs will be studied.
- To explore the effectiveness of Nereda@ technology in removing antibiotics, E.coli, and ARGs, the co-removal performance of nutrients, antibiotics, ARGs, and E.coli, and their possible determinants will be explored in the full-scale Nereda@ plants in the Netherlands.
- Different types and concentrations/abundances of antibiotics and ARGs exist in wastewater from different regions. To explore key determinants of antibiotics’ removal and ARGs’ dissemination, the removal and fate of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance in the fullscale Nereda@ plants in the global scope will beinvestigated.