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Degradation of pharmaceuticals with Moving Bed Biofilm Reactors

PhD defence, Tuesday, 11 May 2021, Sif Burlin Svendsen

2021.05.11 | Nanna Maria Elgaard Pedersen

Sif Burlin Svendsen

During her PhD studies, Sif Burlin Svendsen has researched the factors that influence the degradation of pharmaceuticals in wastewater, using a biofilm technique called Moving Bed Biofilm Reactors (MBBR).

Pharmaceuticals are found in virtually all surface water that is affected by anthropogenic activities, as the pharmaceuticals are not removed 100% in conventional wastewater treatment. MBBR has shown potential for pharmaceutical degradation, and can therefore be used as a post-treatment to reduce the release.

Sif Burlin Svendsen has investigated how the concentration of the pharmaceuticals affects their degradation and whether Michaelis-Menten kinetics are useful for the MBBR system, as well as how the influence of the biofilm with periodic feeding with carbon, as well as short or long term exposure to ammonium affects the degradation rate of the drugs.

The research results obtained contribute to an understanding of how the biological degradation of a number of pharmaceuticals is affected by various parameters, and that measures must be taken based on a prioritization of the pharmaceuticals, as the effects shown are compound-specific.


The PhD study was completed at Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University.


This summary was prepared by the PhD student.


Time: Tuesday, 11 May 2021 at 13:30
Place: The PhD defence will be held online. To receive a link to the event, please send an e-mail to Kai Bester, KB@envs.au.dk
Title of PhD thesis: Removal, degradation, transformation of organic micropollutants in biofilm reactors

Contact information: Sif Burlin Svendsen, e-mail: sibs@envs.au.dk, tel.: +45 87159976

Members of the assessment committee:

Professor emeritus Erik Arvin, Department of Environmental Engineering, DTU, Denmark

Professor Harald Horn, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

Professor Alexandre Anesio (chairman), Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, Denmark

Main supervisor:
Professor Kai Bester, Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, Denmark

Co-supervisor:
Associate professor Pedro Carvalho, Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, Denmark

Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English

The defence is public.
Due to the coronavirus situation, the PhD thesis will not be available for reading at the offices of the PhD administration. Instead, interested parties may send an e-mail to gradschool.tech@au.dk to receive a digital copy of the PhD thesis. Please note, it may in certain cases be necessary to make an individual arrangement to read the PhD thesis.

PhD defence
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