Study of the effect of the bacterial and fungal communities present in real wastewater effluents on the performance of fungal treatments

Marina Badia-Fabregat, Daniel Lucas, Tero Tuomivirta, Hannu Fritze, Taina Pennanen, Sara Rodríguez-Mozaz, Damià Barceló, Glòria Caminal, Teresa Vicent

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32 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 Elsevier B.V. The use of the ligninolytic fungi Trametes versicolor for the degradation of micropollutants has been widely studied. However, few studies have addressed the treatment of real wastewater containing pharmaceutically active compounds (PhAC) under non-sterile conditions. The main drawback of performing such treatments is the difficulty for the inoculated fungus to successfully compete with the other microorganisms growing in the bioreactor. In the present study, several fungal treatments were performed under non-sterile conditions in continuous operational mode with two types of real wastewater effluent, namely, a reverse osmosis concentrate (ROC) from a wastewater treatment plant and a veterinary hospital wastewater (VHW). In all cases, the setup consisted of two parallel reactors: one inoculated with T. versicolor and one non-inoculated, which was used as the control. The main objective of this work was to correlate the operational conditions and traditional monitoring parameters, such as laccase activity, with PhAC removal and the composition of the microbial communities developed inside the bioreactors. For that purpose a variety of biochemical and molecular biology analyses were performed: phospholipid fatty acids analysis (PLFA), quantitative PCR (qPCR) and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) followed by sequencing. The results show that many indigenous fungi (and not only bacteria, which were the focus of the majority of previously published research) can successfully compete with the inoculated fungi (i.e., Trichoderma asperellum overtook T. versicolor in the ROC treatment). We also showed that the wastewater origin and the operational conditions had a stronger impact on the diversity of microbial communities developed in the bioreactors than the inoculation or not with T. versicolor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-377
JournalScience of the total environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • Bioreactor
  • Microbial communities
  • Molecular biology
  • Pharmaceutically active compounds (PhAC)
  • Real effluents
  • White-rot fungi


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