Removal of azithromycin from wastewater using advanced oxidation processes (UV/H2O2) and moving-bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) by the response surface methodology (RSM)

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Environmental Engineering, Ahvaz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran

2 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Public Health, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

3 Department of Water Science, Shoushtar Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shoushtar, Iran

4 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Public Health, Social Development and Health Promotion Research Center, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran


Antibiotics are among the major concerns in terms of environmental control due to their cumulative properties, adverse health effects on humans, and development of drug resistance. The present study aimed to investigate the efficiency of the combination of UV/H2O2 and moving-bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) systems in the removal of azithromycin from aqueous solutions using the response surface methodology (RSM). In the UV/H2O2 process, a low-pressure mercury vapor lamp with the power of eight Watts, wavelength of 254 nanometers, and intensity of 1.02 mw/cm2 was used to determine the effects of pH, azithromycin concentration, hydrogen peroxide concentration, and contact time on the removal efficiency of azithromycin. According to the obtained results, the highest removal efficiency in the UV/H2O2 process was obtained with the azithromycin concentration of 2 mg/L. Therefore, 2 mg/L of azithromycin was selected as the optimal concentration with the highest removal efficiency. Following that, the optimal concentration of azithromycin was injected into the MBBR reactor. In the combined process of UV/H2O2 and MBBR, the highest removal efficiency of azithromycin was 91.2%. Therefore, it could be concluded that the combined system of UV/H2O2 and MBBR had the highest efficiency in the removal of azithromycin from aqueous solutions.


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