In animal husbandry, antibiotics are widely used to treat and prevent diseases or to promote growth. The use of antibiotics for domestic animals enables to promote safety of livestock products and enhance productivity. Tetracycline antibiotics (TCs) are one of the primarily used groups of antibiotics for cattle and swine. However, the unintentional spreading of antibiotics from animal waste to the environment may leave out drug residues, promoting resistant strains of bacteria, and will adversely affect the ecosystem and human health. To prevent the spread of veterinary antibiotics in the environment, it is required to treat residual antibiotics in livestock wastewater. In this study, we investigated the electrochemical oxidation of TCs to treat livestock wastewater. The concentrations of TCs in aqueous solutions were reduced from 100 mg/L to less than 0.6 mg/L by 6 h of electrochemical treatment using a Ti/IrO2 anode with Na2SO4 electrolyte. The concentration of oxytetracycline (OTC) in livestock wastewater was also reduced from 100 mg/L to less than 0.7 mg/L by the same treatment. Thus, the electrochemical oxidation using a Ti/IrO2 anode with Na2SO4 electrolyte was found to be effective for degradation of TCs. The results suggest that the electrochemical oxidation method is a promising treatment for TCs in livestock wastewater.
Keywords: electrochemical oxidation, livestock wastewater, tetracycline antibiotics, wastewater treatment