Treatment of textile wastewater by submerged membrane bioreactor: In vitro bioassays for the assessment of stress response elicited by raw and reclaimed wastewater

Inès Friha, Mohamed Bradai, Daniel Johnson, Nidal Hilal, Slim Loukil, Fatma Ben Amor, Firas Feki, Junkuy Han, Hiroko Isoda, Sami Sayadi

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The performance of a pilot-scale membrane bioreactor (MBR) system for the treatment of textile wastewater was investigated. The MBR was continuously operated for 7 months. Very high treatment efficiencies were achieved (color, 100%; chemical oxygen demand (COD), 98%; biochemical oxygen demand (BOD<inf>5</inf>), 96%; suspended solids (SS), 100%). Furthermore, the MBR treatment efficiency was analyzed from a toxicological-risk assessment point of view, via different Invitro bioassays using Caco-2 cells, a widely used cell model in toxicological studies. Results showed that MBR treatment significantly reduced the raw textile wastewater (RTWW) cytotoxicity on Caco-2 cells by 53% for a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 2 days. Additionally, the RTWW-induced disruption in the barrier function (BF) of the Caco-2 cell monolayer was also significantly reduced after MBR treatment under a HRT of 2 days (no disruption of BF was observed). Moreover, the effect of RTWW and treated wastewater on stress response was investigated using different stress genes: AHSA1, HSPD1, HSPA1A, HSPA5 and HSPA8. The cell exposure to RTWW significantly increased the expression of all used stress genes; interestingly, the treated wastewater (HRT 2 days) did not show any significant modulation of the stress genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-192
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes



  • Caco-2 cells
  • Invitro bioassays
  • Membrane bioreactor
  • Stress response
  • Wastewater treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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