Biodegradation of sulfonamides in both oxic and anoxic zones of vertical flow constructed wetland and the potential degraders.Environ Pollut. 2020 Jun 19; 265(Pt B):115040.EP
The pollution of wastewater with antibiotics and antibiotics resistance genes has attracted public concerns about ecosystem and global health. Swine wastewater can contain high concentrations of antibiotics, especially sulfonamides, even after full-scale wastewater treatment. In this study, mesocosm-scale vertical flow constructed wetlands (VF-CWs) were applied to abate nutrients and antibiotics in swine wastewater containing sulfonamides. VF-CWs performed well in the removal of both nutrients and antibiotics. Sulfonamides did not influence total organic carbon (TOC) and total phosphorus (TP) removal, and even slightly enhanced NH4+-N removal. High removal efficiencies (26.42-84.05%) were achieved for sulfadiazine (SDZ), sulfamethoxazole (SMX) and sulfamethazine (SMZ). Together with lab-scale sorption and biodegradation experiments, microbial degradation was found to be the most important removal mechanism for sulfonamides in VF-CWs. Sulfonamides addition increased bacterial alpha-diversity and changed microbial community structure. Moreover, antibiotics promoted antibiotic-resistant or -degrading bacteria. Bacillus, Geobacter and other seven genera were correlated with sulfonamides reduction under either aerobic or anaerobic condition. In summary, VF-CW is a suitable alternative for swine wastewater treatment, and biodegradation plays the key role in sulfonamides abatement. Main findings of the work. This was the first work to combine bacterial community analysis with microcosm experiments to uncover the major removal mechanism of sulfonamides in constructed wetlands.