Effects of Psychoactive Pharmaceuticals in Wastewater on Electricity Generation in Microbial Fuel Cells

Akagunduz D., Cebecioglu R., Ozen F., Ozdemir M., Bermek H., Tarhan N., ...More

CLEAN-SOIL AIR WATER, vol.50, no.3, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 50 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/clen.202100027
  • Journal Name: CLEAN-SOIL AIR WATER
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, CAB Abstracts, Environment Index, Geobase, Greenfile, INSPEC, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: electricity, microbial fuel cell, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), urine, wastewater, ENVIRONMENTAL RISK-ASSESSMENT, AMMONIA RECOVERY, ANTIDEPRESSANTS, BEHAVIOR, VENLAFAXINE, FLUOXETINE, FISH, METABOLISM, PAROXETINE, EXPOSURE
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Antidepressants accumulate in the aquatic environment due to human wastes. The possibility of microbial fuel cells (MFCs) is explored, an environmentally benign energy source to eliminate antidepressants introduced with human urine while producing electricity as an added value. Human urine containing selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (paroxetine) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (venlafaxine, O-desmethylvenlafaxine (ODV)) are used as substrates in MFCs. Electricity production by the MFCs is monitored while simultaneous drug degradation is analyzed using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. When the human urine samples containing drugs (10 or 50 ng drug per mL) are treated in MFCs, electricity production decreases in response to increasing drug concentrations. Upon addition of drugs-containing urine, chemical oxygen demand removal capacity of MFCs decreases from 54% to 37%. Mass spectrometry results show that drugs are degraded at a rate of 10 ng mL(-1) per hour for paroxetine, 11 ng mL(-1) per hour for venlafaxine, and 16 ng mL(-1) per hour for ODV, i.e., 94% of paroxetine, 66% of venlafaxine, and 48% of ODV is cleared in 9 h of treatment. In conclusion, MFC exhibits great potential in elimination of paroxetine, venlafaxine, and ODV from wastewater. These results can help to develop sustainable strategies to combat antidepressant pollution.