International E-publication: Publish Projects, Dissertation, Theses, Books, Souvenir, Conference Proceeding with ISBN.  International E-Bulletin: Information/News regarding: Academics and Research

Pre-treatment of Antibiotic Wastewater Using an Anaerobic Reactor

Author Affiliations

  • 1 UTM Razak School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (International Campus), Jalan Semarak, 54100, Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
  • 2 Environmental Engineering Group, School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK

Res.J.chem.sci., Volume 1, Issue (6), Pages 59-63, September,18 (2011)


Effluents from manufacturing operations in the pharmaceutical industry, such as antibiotic formulation, usually contain recalcitrant compounds. An approach towards appropriate technology for the treatment of pharmaceutical wastewaters has become imperative due to strict water quality legislation for environmental protection. Typically, pharmaceutical wastewater is characterized by high chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentration and some pharmaceutical wastewaters can have COD as high as 80,000 mg.L-1. Due to high organic content, anaerobic technology is a promising alternative for pharmaceutical wastewater treatment. Results from literature on the anaerobic treatment of antibiotic wastewaters demonstrate that anaerobic treatment is not commonly used as the means for treating pharmaceutical wastewaters containing antibiotics. Consequently, in the present study, an Up-Flow Anaerobic Packed Bed reactor was employed to treat pharmaceutical wastewater containing antibiotics. The effect of organic loading rate (OLR) was assessed by adjusting feed substrate concentration and hydraulic retention time (HRT). The reactor performance was characterized in terms of COD removal, volatile fatty acid (VFA), gas production, methane yield and pH. Results from the study showed a COD reduction of 60 70% at an OLR of 1.5 4.6 kg COD.m-3.d-1, suggesting the biomass had acclimated to the antibiotics. However, when the OLR was increased theCOD removal efficiency decreased gradually until only around 50% soluble COD removal was observed at an OLR of 5.6 kg COD.m-3.d-1, indicating as OLR was increased, the increasing load of antibiotics may have affected the methanogens.


  1. Callely A.G., Forster C.F. and Stafford D.A., Treatment of Industrial Effluents, USA, (1977)
  2. LaPara T.M., Nakatsu C.H., Pantea L.M. and Alleman J.E., Stability of the bacterial communities supported by seven-stage biological process treating pharmaceutical wastewater as revealed by PCR-DGGE, Water Res., 36, 638- 646 (2002)
  3. Young J. and McCarty P., The anaerobic filter for waste treatment, J. Water Pollution Control Federation, 41, 160- 163 (1969)
  4. Young J.C., Factors affecting the design and performance of up-flow anaerobic filters, Water Sci. Technol., 24, 133-155 (1991)
  5. Kennedy K.J. and Droste R.L., Anaerobic wastewater treatment in down-flow stationary fixed film reactors, Water Sci. Technol., 24, 157-177 (1991)
  6. Speece R.E., Anaerobic biotechnology for industrial wastewater, Archae Press, Tennessee, USA, (1996)
  7. American Public Health Association (APHA), In: Greenberg, A.E., Trussell, R.R., Clisceri, L.S. (Eds.), Standard methods for examination of water and wastewater, 16th Ed., Washington, DC., USA (1998)
  8. LaPara T.M., Nakatsu C.H., Pantea L. M. and Alleman J.E., Aerobic biological treatment of a pharmaceutical wastewater: Effect of temperature on cod removal and bacterial community development, Water Res.,35, 4417-4425 (2001)
  9. Rodriguez-Martinez J., Garza-Garcia Y., AguileraCarbo A., Martinez-Amador S.Y. and Sosa-Santillan G.J., Influence of nitrate and sulphate on the anaerobic treatment of pharmaceutical wastewater, Eng. Life Sci., 5, 568-573 (2005)
  10. Nandy T. and Kaul S.N., Anaerobic pre-treatment of herbal-based wastewater using fixed-film reactor with recourse to energy recovery, Water Res., 35, 351-362 (2001)
  11. Penaud V., Delgenes JP., Torrijos M., Moletta R., Vanhoutte B. and Cans P., Definition of optimal conditions for the hydrolysis and acidogenesis of a pharmaceutical microbial biomass, Proc. Biochem.125, 515-521 (1997)
  12. Elefsiniotis P. and Oldham W.K., Effect of HRT on acidogenic digestion of primary sludge. J. Envir. Eng.120, 645660 (1994)