Membrane bioprocesses for pharmaceutical micropollutant removal from waters

Membranes (Basel). 2014 Oct 6;4(4):692-729. doi: 10.3390/membranes4040692.


The purpose of this review work is to give an overview of the research reported on bioprocesses for the treatment of domestic or industrial wastewaters (WW) containing pharmaceuticals. Conventional WW treatment technologies are not efficient enough to completely remove all pharmaceuticals from water. Indeed, these compounds are becoming an actual public health problem, because they are more and more present in underground and even in potable waters. Different types of bioprocesses are described in this work: from classical activated sludge systems, which allow the depletion of pharmaceuticals by bio-degradation and adsorption, to enzymatic reactions, which are more focused on the treatment of WW containing a relatively high content of pharmaceuticals and less organic carbon pollution than classical WW. Different aspects concerning the advantages of membrane bioreactors for pharmaceuticals removal are discussed, as well as the more recent studies on enzymatic membrane reactors to the depletion of these recalcitrant compounds.

Publication types

  • Review