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Bioresource Technology
Volume 348, 2022, 126770

Key microbial clusters and environmental factors affecting the removal of antibiotics in an engineered anaerobic digestion system

Jing Zhanga,c, Zhengfu Yuea,c, Zhigao Zhoua,c

CAS Key Laboratory of Soil Environment and Pollution Remediation, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China.


To identify the key microbial clusters and influencing factors involved in antibiotic removal from engineered anaerobic digestion (AD) systems, the dynamic characteristics of antibiotics, physiochemical factors, microbial communities and functional genes were investigated by 16S rRNA and metagenome sequencing. The results showed that antibiotic removal occurred mainly in the first 21 days, and sulfonamides had the highest removal rate. The key microbial clusters related to the biodegradation of antibiotics consisted mainly of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. The key enzymes consisted of deaminases, peptidases, C-N ligases, decarboxylases and alkyl-aryl transferases. Structural equation modelling indicated that low concentrations of propionic acid promoted the biodegradation activities of key microbial clusters in the first 21 days, but their activities were inhibited by the accumulated propionic acid after 21 days. Thus, propionic acid should be regulated in engineered AD systems to prevent the adverse effect of acid inhibition on antibiotic-degrading bacteria.

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