Anaerobic membrane bioreactors for pharmaceutical-laden wastewater treatment: A critical review

Akashdeep Singh Oberoi, K.C. Surendra, Di Wu, Hui Lu, Jonathan W.C. Wong, Samir Kumar Khanal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Pharmaceuticals are a diverse group of chemical compounds widely used for prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in both humans and animals. Pharmaceuticals, either in their original or metabolite form, find way into the wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) from different sources. Recently, anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBR) has received significant research attention for the treatment of pharmaceuticals in various wastewater streams. This review critically examines the behaviour and removal of a wide array of pharmaceuticals in AnMBR with primary focus on their removal efficiencies and mechanisms, critical influencing factors, and the microbial community structures. Subsequently, the inhibitory effects of pharmaceuticals on the performance of AnMBR and membrane fouling are critically discussed. Furthermore, the imperative role of membrane biofouling layer and its components in pharmaceuticals removal is highlighted. Finally, recent advancements in AnMBR configurations for membrane fouling control and enhanced pharmaceuticals removal are systemically discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number127667
Number of pages14
JournalBioresource Technology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal

User-Defined Keywords

  • Anaerobic membrane bioreactor
  • Biological wastewater treatment
  • Biotransformation
  • Membrane fouling
  • Pharmaceuticals


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