Combined membrane filtration and 265 nm UV irradiation for effective removal of cell free antibiotic resistance genes from feed water and concentrate
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Membrane Science. 2020, 598, 117676. 10.1016/j.memsci.2019.117676
The removal of cell free DNA (plasmids) carrying antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) was investigated at bench-scale using ultrafiltration (UF), nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO) membranes commonly applied in water reuse applications. The removal of the plasmid spiked to ultrapure water was determined using a direct qPCR method. More than 99% plasmid removal was achieved by membranes with 1 kDa molecular weight cut off (MWCO). Membranes with lower MWCO showed complete removal under the specific experimental conditions, reaching a maximum log reduction value above 6.6. The concentrate from membrane filtration was further subjected to UV-LED irradiation at 265 nm. The required fluence for 1 log damage was 73 mJ/cm2 for the 267 target bp segment and 23 mJ/cm2 for the 601 target bp segment, respectively. With these two DNA segments, the inactivation rate per segment length was higher for the larger segment, in accordance with a higher pyrimidine and TT content, compared with the smaller fragment. Target DNA was not detectable anymore when using 100 and 300 mJ/cm2 for the 601 and 267 bp segments respectively. The results indicate that membrane filtration, combined with UV-LED treatment of the concentrate, can be an effective measure to remove and inactivate ARGs from water to prevent their release to the environment.