Bioaugmentation mitigates the impact of estrogen on coliform-grazing protozoa in slow sand filters

Haig, S.-J., Gauchotte-Lindsay, C. , Collins, G. and Quince, C. (2016) Bioaugmentation mitigates the impact of estrogen on coliform-grazing protozoa in slow sand filters. Environmental Science and Technology, 50(6), pp. 3101-3110. (doi: 10.1021/acs.est.5b05027) (PMID:26895622) (PMCID:PMC4841604)

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Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), such as estrogens, is a growing issue for human and animal health as they have been shown to cause reproductive and developmental abnormalities in wildlife and plants and have been linked to male infertility disorders in humans. Intensive farming and weather events, such as storms, flash flooding, and landslides, contribute estrogen to waterways used to supply drinking water. This paper explores the impact of estrogen exposure on the performance of slow sand filters (SSFs) used for water treatment. The feasibility and efficacy of SSF bioaugmentation with estrogen-degrading bacteria was also investigated, to determine whether removal of natural estrogens (estrone, estradiol, and estriol) and overall SSF performance for drinking water treatment could be improved. Strains for SSF augmentation were isolated from full-scale, municipal SSFs so as to optimize survival in the laboratory-scale SSFs used. Concentrations of the natural estrogens, determined by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS), revealed augmented SSFs reduced the overall estrogenic potency of the supplied water by 25% on average and removed significantly more estrone and estradiol than nonaugmented filters. A negative correlation was found between coliform removal and estrogen concentration in nonaugmented filters. This was due to the toxic inhibition of protozoa, indicating that high estrogen concentrations can have functional implications for SSFs (such as impairing coliform removal). Consequently, we suggest that high estrogen concentrations could impact significantly on water quality production and, in particular, on pathogen removal in biological water filters.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Quince, Dr Christopher and Collins, Dr Gavin and Gauchotte-Lindsay, Dr Caroline
Authors: Haig, S.-J., Gauchotte-Lindsay, C., Collins, G., and Quince, C.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Infrastructure and Environment
Journal Name:Environmental Science and Technology
Publisher:American Chemical Society
ISSN (Online):1520-5851
Published Online:19 February 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 American Chemical Society
First Published:First published in Environmental Science & Technology50(6):3101-3110
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
503351Pioneering the genomics era of environmental microbiologyChristopher QuinceEngineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/H003851/1ENG - ENGINEERING INFRASTRUCTURE & ENVIR
574521A Global Solution To Protect Water By Transforming WasteGavin CollinsEngineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/J00538X/1ENG - ENGINEERING INFRASTRUCTURE & ENVIR