Chronic effect of erythromycin on substrate biodegradation kinetics of activated sludge

Pala-Ozkok I., ORHON D.

BIOCHEMICAL ENGINEERING JOURNAL, vol.81, pp.29-39, 2013 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 81
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.bej.2013.10.002
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.29-39
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: No


This study evaluated the chronic impact of erythromycin, a macrolide antibiotic, on microbial activities, mainly focusing on changes in process kinetics induced on substrate biodegradation and all related biochemical processes of microbial metabolism. Experiments involved two fill/draw reactors sustained at steady state at two different sludge ages of 10 and 2.0 days, fed with peptone mixture and continuous erythromycin dosing of 50 mg/L. Oxygen uptake rate profiles were generated in a series of parallel batch reactors seeded with biomass from fill/draw systems at selected periods of steady-state operation. Experimental data were evaluated by model calibration reflecting inhibitory effect on process kinetics: continuous erythromycin dosing inhibited microbial growth, reduced the rate of hydrolysis, blocked substrate storage and accelerated endogenous respiration. Adverse impact was mainly due to changes inflicted on the composition of microbial community. Interruption of erythromycin feeding resulted in partial recovery of microbial response. Sludge age affected the nature of inhibition, indicating different process kinetics for faster growing microbial community. Kinetic evaluation additionally revealed the toxic effect of erythromycin, which inactivated a fraction of biomass. Mass balance using oxygen uptake rate data also identified a stoichiometric impact, where a fraction of available substrate, although completely removed, could not be utilized in metabolic activities. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.