From 17 till 20 September the 10th Micropol & Ecohazard conference was held in Vienna. The conference consisted of 3 keynote speeches, 121 presentations, 70 posters, and 4 workshops. Main topics were the biological degradation of OMPs in wastewater treatment processes and natural systems, the use of ozone and/or activated carbon filtration as a final step in wastewater treatment plants in Switzerland and Germany, the use of bioassays in combination with target analysis for OMP removal, and antibiotic resistant bacteria.
A number of research groups investigated the bacteria/enzymes responsible for OMP removal in biological wastewater treatment processes as well as the effect of operational parameters (eg. sludge retention time). Another “hot topic” that was explored: the possibility to steer/control natural treatment systems (e.g. river bank filtration and artificial recharge which are now used as passive treatment systems for OMP removal). By combining different redox conditions and substrate quality, OMP removal could be optimized. Both these topics showed that biodegradation is an important removal mechanism for OMPs, something that was also recognized by KWR in the search for adequate treatment techniques for pyrazole last year. Cheryl Bertelkamp presented the results of this research on the second day of the conference.
The importance of using bioassays in combination with target analysis was stressed a number of times. Cases have been reported in which the structure of the parent compound was hardly changed (for example only the addition of a certain functional group) and thus one can hardly speak about removal. Finally, the antibiotic resistant bacteria, which are characterized by completely different mechanisms then OMPs, were covered in a workshop. One thing I learned is that there are more antibiotic resistant bacteria present on washed salad in a plastic bag in the supermarket, than on salad from the field. Makes me curious what you are all eating tonight?