Increased (Antibiotic-resistant) pathogen indicator organism removal during (hyper)thermophilic anaerobic digestion of concentrated black water for safe nutrient recovery

Marinus J. Moerland, Alicia Borneman, Paraschos Chatzopoulos, Adrian Gonzalez Fraile, Miriam H.A. van Eekert*, Grietje Zeeman, Cees J.N. Buisman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Source separated toilet water is a valuable resource for energy and fertilizers as it has a high concentration of organics and nutrients, which can be reused in agriculture. Recovery of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (NPK) decreases the dependency on energy-intensive processes or processes that rely on depleting natural resources. In new sanitation systems, concentrated black water (BW) is obtained by source-separated collection of toilet water. BW-derived products are often associated with safety issues, amongst which pathogens and antibiotic-resistant pathogens. This study presents results showing that thermophilic (55–60C) and hyperthermophilic (70C) anaerobic treatments had higher (antibiotic-resistant) culturable pathogen indicators removal than mesophilic anaerobic treatment. Hyperthermophilic and thermophilic anaerobic treatment successfully removed Escherichia coli and extended-spectrum β-lactamases producing E. coli from source-separated vacuum collected BW at retention times of 6–11 days and reached significantly higher removal rates than mesophilic (35C) anaerobic treatment (p < 0.05). The difference between thermophilic and hyperthermophilic treatment was insignificant, which justifies operation at 55C rather than 70C. This study is the first to quantify (antibiotic-resistant) E. coli in concentrated BW (10–40 gCOD/L) and to show that both thermophilic and hyperthermophilic anaerobic treatment can adequately remove these pathogen indicators.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9336
Number of pages13
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume12
Issue number22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • (hyper-)thermophilic anaerobic digestion
  • Antibiotics resistance
  • Black water
  • Nutrient recovery
  • Pathogen removal
  • Source separation

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