Chronic effect of erythromycin on substrate biodegradation kinetics of activated sludge
•Erythromycin caused partial substrate utilization due to enzymatic binding.•Intracellular storage mechanism was completely inhibited, growth kinetics was not.•The effect of erythromycin was compatible with uncompetitive inhibition.•Erythromycin accelerated endogenous respiration, due to higher maintenance energy.•Chronic effect of erythromycin was determined using oxygen utilization rate profiles.
This study evaluated the chronic impact of erythromycin, a macrolide antibiotic, on microbial activities, mainly focusing on changes in process kinetics induced on substrate biodegradation and all related biochemical processes of microbial metabolism. Experiments involved two fill/draw reactors sustained at steady state at two different sludge ages of 10 and 2.0 days, fed with peptone mixture and continuous erythromycin dosing of 50 mg/L. Oxygen uptake rate profiles were generated in a series of parallel batch reactors seeded with biomass from fill/draw systems at selected periods of steady-state operation. Experimental data were evaluated by model calibration reflecting inhibitory effect on process kinetics: continuous erythromycin dosing inhibited microbial growth, reduced the rate of hydrolysis, blocked substrate storage and accelerated endogenous respiration. Adverse impact was mainly due to changes inflicted on the composition of microbial community. Interruption of erythromycin feeding resulted in partial recovery of microbial response. Sludge age affected the nature of inhibition, indicating different process kinetics for faster growing microbial community. Kinetic evaluation additionally revealed the toxic effect of erythromycin, which inactivated a fraction of biomass. Mass balance using oxygen uptake rate data also identified a stoichiometric impact, where a fraction of available substrate, although completely removed, could not be utilized in metabolic activities.
Journal: Biochemical Engineering Journal - Volume 81, 15 December 2013, Pages 29–39