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Catalysts 2019, 9(3), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal9030222

Immobilised Cerium-Doped Zinc Oxide as a Photocatalyst for the Degradation of Antibiotics and the Inactivation of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

1
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo II 132, 84084 Fisciano, Italy
2
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo II 132, 84084 Fisciano, Italy
3
Laboratory of Separation and Reaction Engineering-Laboratory of Catalysis and Materials (LSRE-LCM), Faculdade de Engenharia, Universidade do Porto, Rua Dr. Roberto Frias, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal
4
Universidade Católica Portuguesa, CBQF-Centro de Biotecnologia e Química Fina – Laboratório Associado, Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Rua Arquiteto Lobão Vital, 172, 4200-374 Porto, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 January 2019 / Revised: 15 February 2019 / Accepted: 19 February 2019 / Published: 1 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Applications of Photocatalytic Processes)
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Abstract

The threat of antibiotic resistance to the wellbeing of societies is well established. Urban wastewater treatment plants (UWTPs) are recognised sources for antibiotic resistance dissemination in the environment. Herein a novel cerium-doped zinc oxide (Ce-ZnO) photocatalyst is compared to ZnO and the benchmark TiO2-P25 in the immobilised form on a metallic support, to evaluate a photocatalytic process as a possible tertiary treatment in UWTPs. The catalysts were compared for the removal of two antibiotics, trimethoprim (TMP) and sulfamethoxazole (SMX), and for the inactivation of Escherichia coli (E. coli) strain DH5-Alpha in isotonic sodium chloride solution and of autochthonous bacteria in real secondary wastewater. In real wastewater, E. coli and other coliforms were monitored, as well as the respective fractions resistant to ofloxacin and azithromycin. In parallel, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the respective sub-population resistant to ofloxacin or ciprofloxacin were also monitored. Photocatalysis with both ZnO and Ce-ZnO was faster than using TiO2-P25 at degrading the antibiotics, with Ce-ZnO the fastest against SMX but slower than undoped ZnO in the removal of TMP. Ce-ZnO catalyst reuse in the immobilised form produced somewhat slower kinetics maintained >50% of the initial activity, even after five cycles of use. Approximately 3 log10 inactivation of E. coli in isotonic sodium chloride water was recorded with reproducible results. In the removal of autochthonous bacteria in real wastewater, Ce-ZnO performed better (more than 2 log values higher) than TiO2-P25. In all cases, E. coli and other coliforms, including their resistant subpopulations, were inactivated at a higher rate than P. aeruginosa. With short reaction times no evidence for enrichment of resistance was observed, yet with extended reaction times low levels of bacterial loads were not further inactivated. Overall, Ce-ZnO is an easy and cheap photocatalyst to produce and immobilise and the one that showed higher activity than the industry standard TiO2-P25 against the tested antibiotics and bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria. View Full-Text
Keywords: antibiotic resistance; immobilised photocatalyst; photocatalysis; tertiary treatment; wastewater disinfection antibiotic resistance; immobilised photocatalyst; photocatalysis; tertiary treatment; wastewater disinfection
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Zammit, I.; Vaiano, V.; Ribeiro, A.R.; Silva, A.M.T.; Manaia, C.M.; Rizzo, L. Immobilised Cerium-Doped Zinc Oxide as a Photocatalyst for the Degradation of Antibiotics and the Inactivation of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. Catalysts 2019, 9, 222.

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