Abstract

Methylparaben and triclosan are antimicrobial agents widely used as preservatives in a variety of personal care and pharmaceutical products. Wastewater is considered the main source of these compounds in the environment. Expanded granular sludge bed (EGSB) reactors are a high rate technology for wastewater treatment based on biological processes and have been shown to be efficient in removing different types of compounds; however, little is known about the effect of contaminants such as methylparaben and triclosan on their behavior and effectiveness. In this study, we evaluate and compare the microbial and physicochemical behavior of EGSB systems during methylparaben and triclosan removal. The presence of different concentrations of pollutants had an influence on the cluster organization of microbial communities, especially bacteria. However, this did not affect the stability and performance of the EGSB systems. The banding patterns of the denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of archaea demonstrated the constant presence and abundance of Methanosaeta concilii throughout all stages of operation, showing that this microorganism played a fundamental role in the stability of the reactors for the production of methane. The type of compound and its concentration influenced the expression of the mcrA and ACAs genes; however, these changes did not alter the stability and performance of the EGSB systems.

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