Tylosin has been considered inhibiting COD removal in anaerobic digestion. In this study it is proven that this is not always the case. Accordingly, elevated concentrations of Tylosin (100–800 mgL−1) could be tolerated by the anaerobic system. The influence of Tylosin concentrations on an up-flow anaerobic stage reactor (UASR) was assessed using additions of Tylosin phosphate concentrate. Results showed high efficiency for COD removal (average 93%) when Tylosin was present at concentrations ranging from 0 to 400 mgL−1. However, at Tylosin concentrations of 600 and 800 mgL−1 treatment efficiency declined to 85% and 75% removal respectively. The impact of Tylosin concentrations on archaeal activity were investigated and the analysis revealed that archaeal cells dominated the reactor, confirming that there was no detectable inhibition of the methanogens at Tylosin levels between 100 and 400 mgL−1. Nevertheless, the investigation showed a slight reduction in the number of methanogens at Tylosin levels of 600 and 800 mgL−1. These results demonstrated that the methanogens were well adapted to Tylosin. It would not be expected that the process performance of the UASR would be affected, not even at a level well in excess of those appearing in real wastewater from a Tylosin production site.
Keywords: antibiotic, anaerobic digestion, methanogens, tylosin, UASR