Biodegradation of levofloxacin by an acclimated freshwater microalga, Chlorella vulgaris

Jiu Qiang Xiong, Mayur B. Kurade, Byong Hun Jeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


The extensive contamination of levofloxacin (LEV) in aquatic ecosystems has attracted increasing attention because of the potential for development of bacterial resistance and its eco-toxicity to non-target organisms. Biodegradation of LEV was significantly improved upon the acclimation of a freshwater microalga, Chlorella vulgaris and in the presence of elevated salinity. Among the six wild species (Chlamydomonas mexicana, Chlamydomonas pitschmannii, Chlorella vulgaris, Ourococcus multisporus, Micractinium resseri, Tribonema aequale), C. vulgaris showed the highest removal capacity (12%) of LEV at 1 mg L−1. The acclimated C. vulgaris, which was pre-exposed to 200 mg L−1of LEV for 11 days, exhibited enhanced removal of 1 mg LEV L−1by 16% after 11 days of cultivation. The addition of 1% (w/v) sodium chloride into the microalgal media significantly improved LEV removal by >80% in the C. vulgaris culture. The bioaccumulation of LEV at day 11 in C. vulgaris cells without NaCl was 34 μg g−1, which was elevated to 101 μg g−1LEV at 1% NaCl. The bioconcentration factor for LEV was 34 and 1004 in 0 and 1% NaCl, respectively. The mass balance analysis of LEV showed that more than 90% of LEV was biodegraded by C. vulgaris at day 11 with the addition of 1% NaCl. These results demonstrated that the enhanced removal of LEV by salinity was mainly through bioaccumulation and subsequent intracellular biodegradation by C. vulgaris cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1251-1257
Number of pages7
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
StatePublished - 2017


  • Acclimation
  • Biodegradation
  • Chlorella vulgaris
  • Emerging contaminant
  • Levofloxacin
  • Salinity


Dive into the research topics of 'Biodegradation of levofloxacin by an acclimated freshwater microalga, Chlorella vulgaris'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this