Inhibitory effects of the macrolide antimicrobial tylosin on anaerobic treatment

Toshio Shimada, Julie L. Zilles, Eberhard Morgenroth, Lutgarde Raskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A laboratory-scale anaerobic sequencing batch reactor (ASBR) was operated using a glucose-based synthetic wastewater to study the effects of tylosin, a macrolide antimicrobial commonly used in swine production, on treatment performance. The experimental period was divided into three consecutive phases with different influent tylosin concentrations (0,1.67, and 167 mg/L). The addition of 1.67 mg/L tylosin to the reactor had negligible effects on the overall treatment performance, that is, total methane production and effluent chemical oxygen demand did not change significantly (P < 0.05), yet analyses of individual ASBR cycles revealed a decrease in the rates of both methane production and propionate uptake after tylosin was added. The addition of 167 mg/L tylosin to the reactor resulted in a gradual decrease in methane production and the accumulation of propionate and acetate. Subsequent inhibition of methanogenesis was attributed to a decrease in the pH of the reactor. After the addition of 167 mg/L tylosin to the reactor, an initial decrease in the rate of glucose uptake during the ASBR cycle followed by a gradual recovery was observed. In batch tests, the specific biogas production with the substrate butyrate was completely inhibited in the presence of tylosin. This study indicated that tylosin inhibited propionate-and butyrate-oxidizing syntrophic bacteria and fermenting bacteria resulting in unfavorable effects on methanogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-82
Number of pages10
JournalBiotechnology and bioengineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008


  • Anaerobic
  • Antimicrobial
  • Macrolide
  • Methanogenesis
  • SBR
  • Tylosin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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