This study investigated the use of thermophilic anaerobic digestion for removing antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) from residual municipal wastewater solids. Four laboratory-scale anaerobic digesters were operated in 8-day batch cycles at temperatures of 40, 56, 60, and 63 °C. Two tetracycline resistance genes (tet(W) and tet(X)), a fluoroquinolone resistance gene (qnrA), the integrase gene of class 1 integrons (intI1), 16S rRNA genes of all Bacteria, and 16S rRNA genes of methanogens were quantified using real-time quantitative PCR. ARG and intI1 quantities decreased at all temperatures and were described well by a modified form of the Collins-Selleck disinfection kinetic model. The magnitudes of Collins-Selleck kinetic parameters were significantly greater at thermophilic temperatures compared to 40 °C, but few statistically significant differences were observed among these parameters for the thermophilic anaerobic digesters. This model allows for the direct comparison of different operating conditions (e.g., temperature) on anaerobic digestion performance in mitigating the quantity of ARGs in wastewater solids and could be used to design full-scale anaerobic digesters to specifically treat for ARGs as a “pollutant” of concern.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was financially supported by the National Science Foundation (CBET-0967176).
© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
- Anaerobic digestion
- Antibiotic resistance genes
- Class 1 integrons
- Collins-Selleck model
- Tetracycline resistance