6708 PB Wageningen
Dr. ir. Tania V. Fernandes
Tânia is an Environmental Engineer with a PhD degree in Environmental Technology from Wageningen University (2010). She is a researcher at NIOO from 2011, and since 2017 she founded the Microalgae Eco-Technologies Solutions unit (METS) within the Aquatic Ecology Department. Within her unit, she explores the potential of microalgae - bacteria biodiversity and interactions for ecological and sustainable nature- based technologies, providing clean water, valorisation of resources and safe solutions. She applies modern ecological principles and theories in designing biodiverse engineered ecosystems for closing carbon and nutrients cycles and removing anthropogenic pollutants, such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides.
Organic micropollutants (OMPs) need to be removed from wastewater as they can negatively affect aquatic organisms. It has been demonstrated that microalgae-based technologies are efficient in removing OMPs from wastewater. In this study, the removal processes and kinetics of six persistent OMPs (diclofenac, clarithromycin, benzotriazole, metoprolol, carbamazepine and mecoprop) were studied during cultivation of Scenedesmus obliquus in batch mode. These OMPs were added as individual compounds and in a mixture. Short experiments (8 days) were performed to avoid masking of OMP removal processes by light and nutrient limitation. The results show that diclofenac, clarithromycin, and benzotriazole were mainly removed by photodegradation (diclofenac), biodegradation (benzotriazole), or a combination of these two processes (clarithromycin). Peroxidase was involved in intracellular and extracellular biodegradation when benzotriazole was present as individual compound. Carbamazepine, metoprolol and mecoprop showed no biodegradation or photodegradation, and neglectable removal (<5%) by bioadsorption and bioaccumulation. Using an OMP mixture had an adverse effect on the photodegradation of clarithromycin and diclofenac, with reduced first-order kinetic constants compared to the individual compounds. Benzotriazole biodegradation was inhibited by the presence of the OMP mixture. This indicates that the presence of OMPs inhibits the photodegradation and biodegradation of some individual OMPs. These results will improve our understanding of removal processes of individual and mixtures of OMPs by microalgae-based technologies for wastewater treatment.