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Title: Occurrence and fate of pharmaceuticals in wastewater treatment processes
Author: Jelić, Aleksandra
Director: Petrovic, M. (Mira)
Barceló i Cullerés, Damià
Keywords: Medicaments
Aigües residuals
Aguas residuales
Llots de depuradora
Lodos de depuradora
Sewage sludge
Trametes versicolor
Issue Date: 21-Dec-2012
Publisher: Universitat de Barcelona
Abstract: [eng] Pharmaceuticals have been detected in natural waters for more than forty years, but with improvements in sample preparation procedures and analytical instrumentation, the number of scientific publications on the issue has increased significantly. Even though the concentration of pharmaceutical residues in surface and drinking water is not critical for human health according to the present level of knowledge, the consequences for the environment are not clear. Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) have been identified as the primary route of pharmaceuticals to the environment, with households as the major source point for most of the over-the-counter and prescription drugs. In this thesis, the first aim was to study the occurrence, fate and removal of 43 pharmaceuticals during conventional wastewater treatment. The target compounds were selected on the basis of their high consumption in Spain or/and frequently reported detection in wastewaters and the possibility to be analyzed under the same experimental conditions. They belong to different therapeutic classes, i.e. nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents and analgesics, lipid modifying agents, psycholeptic and antiepileptic drugs, beta-blocking agents, beta-2-adrenoreceptor agonists, H2-receptor antagonists, antibiotics, angiotensin converting enzyme agents, diuretics and antidiabetic drugs. A wide variation in removal efficiencies was observed even for individual compounds, and across therapeutic classes and treatment processes, without clear conclusion on the removal of any particular compound. According to mass balance calculations and estimated partition coefficients, the loss of the selected pharmaceuticals during biological wastewater treatment can be fully attributed to biodegradation/biotransformation. None of the studied compounds was entirely biodegraded and/or transformed during biological wastewater treatment, but the measured concentrations were below the levels of concern according to available toxicity data. Conventional WWTPs cannot be expected to be the only mechanism for controlling the entry of pharmaceuticals into the environment because they were neither designed nor can provide their complete removal. Therefore, the challenge is to look for solutions that would be the most economical and effective means of preventing further pollution of natural waters by pharmaceuticals. More appropriate management of sewage waters before they enter treatment plants as well as a stricter control of effluent discharges, along with an in-depth investigation on the development of new designs and strategies for the improvement of existing wastewater treatments should be considered. In light of this, as the second objective of this thesis, alternative approaches for the removal of the antiepileptic carbamazepine (CBZ) were studied in aqueous media in two laboratory scale experiments: a) biodegradation using white rot fungus T. versicolor in an air-pulsed fluidized bioreactor operated in batch and continuous modes, and b) advanced oxidation using TiO2-heterogeneous photocatalysis under simulated solar and UV-A irradiation, and under the combined use of ultrasound and UV-A irradiation (sonophotocatalysis). We selected CBZ as a representative example of compounds that are found to be refractory to biological treatment and ubiquitous in various environmental matrices. Both, the fungal and UVA-driven TiO2-photocatalytic treatments, very different in their nature, have been shown to be very effective in degrading carbamazepine in aqueous media. The fungal treatment resulted in average removals of 54 and 96% in batch and continuous reactor, respectively. Acute toxicity test using the bioluminescent marine bacterium Vibrio fischeri showed a decrease in toxicity during the treatment in both types of bioreactor. In the other study, initial CBZ concentrations were reduced for 95% during 120 min of the UV-driven photocatalytic experiment and sonophotocatalysis, while only 10 % of CBZ was photodegraded during under solar irradiation. A slight increase in toxicity in Daphnia magna acute toxicity testing was observed over the time-course of the photocatalytic experiments, which can be associated with the formation of transformation products of CBZ. Ultraperformance liquid chromatography coupled to a quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry was used for a tentative identification of the transformation products of CBZ formed during the performed experiments. Most of the tentatively identified intermediates exhibited only slight modifications of the CBZ molecular structure. The fungal as well as the photocatalytic processes yielded oxygenated transformation products. In the biological treatment using T. versicolor, transformation products were formed by enzymatic epoxidation and hydroxylation of seven-membered heterocyclic ring of the carbamazepine molecule. During the photocatalytic experiments, CBZ-related transformation products emerged from hydroxylation and further oxidation of different parts of the molecule of carbamazepine. The generated transformation products appeared to be more persistent than their parent compound, as they were present, although at low concentration, until the end of the experiments. The results of the thesis contribute to a better understanding of a) the magnitude of the selected pharmaceuticals that reach the environment through the wastewater and sludge discharge, b) the efficiency of typical conventional wastewater treatment plants regarding the removal of these compounds from raw wastewater, and c) possible developments of alternative technologies for their enhanced elimination.
[spa] Desde hace más de cuarenta años se ha detectado la presencia de fármacos en el ciclo de aguas, sobre todo debido a los avances en la química analítica que han permitido el desarrollo de nuevas metodologías analíticas para la determinación de estos compuestos de modo fiable y a bajas concentraciones. Las estaciones depuradoras de aguas residuales (EDARs) han sido identificadas como la ruta principal de entrada de fármacos de origen humano en el medioambiente. Por tanto, el principal objetivo de esta tesis ha sido el estudio de la presencia, destino y eliminación de 43 fármacos seleccionados, durante el tratamiento convencional realizado en las EDARs. Los compuestos estudiados fueron seleccionados en base a los índices de consumo en España, a la frecuencia de detección en aguas residuales y además en base a la posibilidad de ser analizados bajo las mismas condiciones experimentales. Estos compuestos pertenecen a diferentes clases terapéuticas, i.e. antiinflamatorios no esteroideos , los agentes que reducen los lípidos séricos, ansiolíticos y antiepilépticos, los agentes bloqueadores beta-adrenérgicos, agonistas β2 adrenérgico, antagonistas H2 , antibióticos, inhibidores de la enzima convertidora de angiotensina, diuréticos y antidiabéticos. Para el análisis cuantitativo se utilizó la cromatografía de líquidos acoplada a espectrometría de masas en tándem (LC-MS/MS), empleando un sistema híbrido triple quadrupolo/trampa de iones lineal. Como segundo objetivo hemos considerado evaluar tratamientos avanzados alternativos al tratamiento convencional para la eliminación de un fármaco antiepiléptico, la carbamazepina, uno de los compuestos más recalcitrantes al tratamiento biológico convencional. Se procedió a estudiar su degradación en medio acuoso mediante dos procedimientos a escala laboratorio: a) biodegradación utilizando el hongo ligninolitico Trametes Versicolor en un reactor fluidizado por pulsos de aire operando en modo batch y continuo, y b) oxidación avanzada mediante un tratamiento fotocatalitico en presencia de TiO2 bajo irradiación UV-A y solar, y aplicando la radiación UV en combinación con ultrasonidos (sonofotocatálisis). Para la evaluación de los tratamientos alternativos, se identificaron los productos de transformación de la carbamazepina, y se evaluó la toxicidad de las muestras tratadas. Se utilizó la LC-MS/MS con analizador de tipo cuadrupolo-tiempo de vuelo. También se evaluó la toxicidad de las muestras tratadas.
Appears in Collections:Tesis Doctorals - Departament - Química Analítica

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