Removal of antibiotics and resistant bacteria in hospital wastewater using advanced oxidation technologies

Project Details


At present, antibiotics and resistant bacteria are recognized as a new group of water pollutants (emerging pollutants), their arrival in natural waters is one of the proliferation pathways of antibiotic resistance, making this a high risk factor for environmental and human health, since in addition to altering the balance of ecosystems, it can promote the generation of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant and untreatable microorganisms with available antibiotics, which warns the arrival of a post-antibiotic era. one of the main sources of these emerging pollutants is hospital wastewater that is discharged directly into water bodies in regions of colombia (eg, tumaco-nariño); furthermore, it is recognized that in the municipal wastewater treatment plants, the conventional processes applied there are unable to eliminate the antibiotics and resistant bacteria. this panorama, together with the current concern about the control of hazardous waste, shows the urgent need to investigate around these issues and propose increasingly effective methodologies to reduce pollution and its impacts on environmental and human health. that is why this project aims to evaluate the application of alternative and adaptable technologies. to address this problem, photochemical, electrochemical and chemical processes will be applied. advanced oxidation sonochemicals in one of the primary foci such as hospital wastewater. this project is based on the multidisciplinary and strategic union from various national and international research groups of recognized trajectory to meet the objectives set, starting with laboratory scale studies and subsequent pilot-level implementation, integrating the training of highly qualified scientific staff (two master's and one phd students) into the project development, production scientific (publication of four scientific articles in q1 journals) and the socialization of results with the community (publication of an article for the dissemination and development of a seminar). for which, the participation of national and international co-researchers and advisors is vital to address this environmental health problem of great concern worldwide. the present project will begin with the sampling of wastewater at the san andrés de tumaco hospital, the physicochemical characterization of the samples and identification and quantification of the antibiotics and / or metabolites present there will be made. microbiological characterization will also be carried out to determine the resistant bacteria present there and the identification of the genes that code for resistance. this first stage will allow to establish and select antibiotics, metabolites and antibiotic resistant bacteria representative with high environmental impact and high relevance for human health to work in the later stages. in the second stage of the project the evaluation of the oxidation processes will be carried out advanced through the systematic study of operational parameters that will allow understanding the degradation and disinfection kinetics; degradation pathways of the contaminants (antibiotics and resistant bacteria) along with the extension of the treatments; and thus establish the appropriate working conditions of the processes that maximize the elimination of pollutants and make them more environmentally friendly. in addition, computational chemistry analysis will be applied to study the reagent centers in antibiotics and / or previously selected metabolites and determine a possible structure reactivity relationship. in the third and final stage, based on the results of the second stage, it will be built and evaluate a pilot scale reactor (photochemical or electrochemical or sonochemical) that allows efficient, economical and adaptable removal of selected representative pollutants, and additionally serve as the basis for implementation and solution to the problem considered here. also at this stage the seminar will be held that will involve the participants of the project (national and international), guild responsible for hospital wastewater and members of the academic community and will aim to make socialization and dissemination of the most relevant results that allow a positive impact on human and environmental health. the results of this project will provide a solid foundation for the implementation of efficient, economical and reliable systems of hospital wastewater treatment in colombia capable of removing emerging contaminants and bacteria antibiotic resistant.


Evaluate the application of advanced photochemical, electrochemical and sonochemical oxidation processes for the elimination of antibiotics and resistant bacteria in hospital wastewater. specific objectives to determine the physicochemical parameters of the water coming from the san andrés de tumaco hospital. identify and quantify antibiotics and / or its metabolites present in wastewater of the san andrés de tumaco hospital identify the resistant bacteria present in wastewater of the san andrés de tumaco hospital. select antibiotics and resistant bacteria with high impact on public and environmental health present in the wastewater of the san andrés de tumaco hospital. establish the most appropriate operational conditions for poas (photochemicals, electrochemical and sonochemical) for the elimination of antibiotics and resistant bacteria. identify the main routes (eg light, hydroxyl radical or sulfate, electrogenerated hypochlorous acid, etc.) of antibiotic degradation and disinfection of resistant bacteria treated by the different poas. perform computational calculations for the analysis of the structure-reactivity relationship of antibiotics towards the degrading agents involved in poas. to evaluate the efficiency of poas for the degradation of selected antibiotics in terms of the chemical demand for oxygen, total organic carbon, biodegradability, toxicity and antimicrobial activity. evaluate the efficiency of poas for the elimination of resistant bacteria considering kinetics of elimination and analysis of bacterial regrowth, together with monitoring resistance genes and changes in antibiotic susceptibility. identify the most appropriate option (efficient, economical and adaptable) for the treatment of hospital waters and evaluate the process using a pilot scale reactor. promote in the exchange and cooperation of the national and international scientific community around the development of efficient and adaptable technologies for the treatment of hospital wastewater in colombia. socialize to the community the results of the application of advanced and efficient processes for the elimination of antibiotics and resistant bacteria in hospital wastewater.

Expected results

Articles category 5; , 1 scientific event, 3 presentations, 1 linking phd student, 2 master student bonding
Effective start/end date18/12/1718/12/21


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