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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Texas A&M: Researchers Examine UV-based Treatment of Antibiotic Resistance Bacteria in Wastewater

A new study led by Dr. Virender Sharma, of the Texas A&M School of Public Health, published in Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, examined recent studies on the effectiveness of different methods combining UV and oxidation techniques at eliminating antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARGs) in wastewater.

Studies combining UV and chlorination examined effects on several antibiotic resistance genes using both chlorination and UV treatment alone as well as UV treatment followed by chlorination and found that using the two methods in sequence was more effective than either method alone at eliminating ARGs in wastewater. Other studies looked at similar methods using UV and hydrogen peroxide and UV and PMS treatment, which produce radicals that rapidly degrade organic materials in wastewater. They found that UV treatments alone were more effective at eliminating ARGs than UV combined with PMS or hydrogen peroxide, but that both PMS and hydrogen peroxide were highly effective at removing antibiotic contaminants. One possibility the researchers noted is that substances produced by chemical reactions involving PMS or hydrogen peroxide absorb UV, limiting its ability to degrade ARGs.

Researchers also examined the use of photocatalysts like titanium dioxide that produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) under UV. Such ROSs could inactivate both ARBs and ARGs. One study found that such treatments must be conducted for long periods. Additionally, photocatalyst treatments had varying effects depending on substances present in wastewater.

With a better understanding of how different methods work, researchers can work towards developing treatment techniques that can effectively eliminate ARGs and ARB in wastewater.

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