While anaerobic treatment is capable of treating pharmaceutical wastewater and removing antibiotics in liquid phases, solid phases may still contain significant amounts of antibiotics following this treatment. The main goal of this study was to evaluate the use of white-rot fungi to remove erythromycin, sulfamethoxazole, and tetracycline combinations from biosolids. The degradation potential of Trametes versicolor and Bjerkandera adusta was evaluated via the sequential treatment of anaerobic sludge. Polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) analyses were used to identify competition between the autochthonous microbial communities and white-rot fungi. Solid-phase treatment using white-rot fungi substantially reduced antibiotic concentrations and toxicity in sludge. According to PCR-DGGE results, there is an association between species of fungus and antibiotic type as a result of the different transformation pathways of fungal strains. Fungal post-treatment of sludge represents a promising method of removing antibiotic combinations, therefore holding a significant promise as an environmentally friendly means of degrading the antibiotics present in sludge.
Keywords: Anaerobic treatment; Antibiotic; Biodegradation; Bjerkandera adusta; Sludge; Solid-phase treatment; Trametes versicolor; White-rot fungi.