Pharmaceuticals in source separated sanitation systems: Fecal sludge and blackwater treatment


In this article, the occurrence and fate of 29 multiple-class pharmaceuticals (PhACs) in two source separated sanitation systems based on: (i) batch experiments for the anaerobic digestion (AD) of fecal sludge under mesophilic (37 °C) and thermophilic (52 °C) conditions, and (ii) a full-scale blackwater treatment plant using wet composting and sanitation with urea addition. For more information, please read: .

New publication in the Global Water Pathogen Project about Salmonella


Björn Vinnerås and Annika Nordin have together with R Hasan, S Shakoor and I Keenum compiled current knowledge regarding Salmonella. Our focus in the chapter has been the effect upon salmonella in relation to current practices and available treatment technologies. Treatment technologies for reduction of Salmonella in wastewater fractions can be divided into three main types: chemical, biological and thermal. When comparing the inactivation of Salmonella spp. with Escherichia coli, the latter is somewhat more resistant to most treatments and can therefore be used as a proper indicator for salmonella during treatments. Salmonella has several genetically-driven responses to stress related to the inactivation treatments, which increase survival during extreme conditions. In this chapter the inactivation time for salmonella in relation to pH, ammonia concentration and temperature is presented. For pH, generated inactivation chemical substances aid in the inactivation: at higher pH uncharged ammonia is the most active molecule enhancing inactivation while at low pH carbonate and organic acids both increase the efficiency of inactivation. For heat inactivation, increased dry matter content increases the time of survival. Biological treatments affect the survival, while also decreasing the number of viable Salmonella over time. However, the effect of the biological treatment is difficult to monitor and quantify and therefore extended treatment durations are recommended for biological treatment if the treatment is not combined with chemical or thermal treatment.

New publication on pre-treatment of banana peels for BSFL composting


Alice Isibika and co-authors have published a new study in the journal Waste Management, on the application of pre-treatments prior BSFL treatment of banana peels as a fibrous and nutrient imbalanced substrate to enhance bioconversion ratio. The applied pre-treatments were non-protein nitrogen for balancing the carbon/nitrogen , heat and microbes(fungi and bacteria) pre-treatments for breaking down complex compounds into more readily available forms in the banana peels to be consumed by the BSFL. They found that direct addition of ammonia solution in the banana peel and addition of both  fungi (Trichoderma, Rhizopus) and bacteria (BSFL gut bacteria) improved the BSFL response efficiencies while heat treatment did not improve. For microbial pre-treatment 14 days was found to be the total time to achieve sufficient degradation of the banana peels for BSFL consumption. 

Moisture content affects greenhouse gas emissions from thermophilic food waste composting


The effects of moisture on thermophilic composting process are investigated in the latest paper published in the Journal of Cleaner Production:

It is known that too wet active composts can cause excessive methane (CH4) emissions, but there is no consensus on how much and what exactly the rate of this change is with changing moisture.

Greenhouse gas emissions from small-scale fly larvae composting

Frida Erlöv taking a gas sample. Photo: Evgheni Ermolaev

A new paper evaluating the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from small-scale fly larvae composting is published. The full paper is available here:

The aim of the study was to evaluate GHG and ammonia (NH3) emissions from fly larvae composting treatment of food waste and the effects of pre-treatment and seeding of the food waste substrate with BSF larvae-associated bacteria on the efficiency and rate of the fly larvae composting process.

Book chapter within the framework of the Global Water Pathogen Project about Salmonella in relation to wastewater


The chapter brings up, occurrence, epidemiology, analysing techniques and treatment technology. The chapter is available at the link below

Hasan, R., Nordin, A.C., Shakoor, S., Keenum, I. and Vinneras, B. 2019. Salmonella, Enteric Fevers, and Salmonellosis. In: J.B. Rose and B. Jiménez-Cisneros, (eds) Global Water Pathogen Project. ( A. Pruden, N. Ashbolt and J. Miller (eds) Part 3 Baceteria) Michigan State University, E. Lansing, MI, UNESCO.

New Publication Polymers 2019, 11, 287; doi:10.3390/polym11020287

The material that was produced by the defatted larvae.

A Protein-Based Material from a New Approach Using Whole Defatted Larvae, and Its Interaction with Moisture
Nazanin Alipour, Björn Vinnerås, Fabrice Gouanvé, Eliane Espuche and Mikael S. Hedenqvist

A protein-based material created from a new approach using whole defatted larvae of the Black Soldier fly is presented. After removing the larva lipid and adding a plasticizer, the ground material was compression molded into plates/films. The lipid, rich in saturated fatty acids, can be used in applications such as lubricants. The amino acids present in the greatest amounts were the essential amino acids aspartic acid/asparagine and glutamic acid/glutamine. Infrared spectroscopy revealed that the protein material had a high amount of strongly hydrogen-bonded β-sheets, indicative of a highly aggregated protein. To assess the moisture–protein material interactions, the moisture uptake was investigated. The moisture uptake followed a BET type III moisture sorption isotherm, which could be fitted to the Guggenheim, Anderson and de Boer (GAB) equation. GAB, in combination with cluster size analysis, revealed that the water clustered in the material already at a low moisture content and the cluster increased in size with increasing relative humidity. The clustering also led to a peak in moisture diffusivity at an intermediate moisture uptake.

Special Issue “Biochar for the Environmental Wastewater Treatment”


Sahar Dalahmeh, Researcher at our group along with Manfred Lübken is co-editing a special issue in the journal, Applied Sciences published by MDPI. The special issue focuses on “Biochar for the Environmental Wastewater Treatment”. Paper submissions are invited along the following lines:

Filtration systems are, in general, characterized as low cost, easy to operate and they have a low space requirement. Filter material should have, e.g., a large specific surface area, low bulk densities and should be locally available where wastewater treatment is to be  installed. Recently, biochar has been demonstrated to be effective in the removal of organic and inorganic constituents, heavy metals or microorganisms from contaminated water. Compared to many other filter materials, biochar has the advantage that it can be produced from locally available biomass and can be used as a soil amendment after wastewater treatment. The aim of this Special Issue is to discuss both the potential and limits of biochar as a filter material for wastewater treatment. 

New Publication on removal of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in onsite wastewater treatment


In this study, we investigated the potential of biochar filters as a replacement or complement for sand filters for removal of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances from wastewater in onsite sewage facilities. In a 22-weeks experiment, concentrations, removal and adsorption of nine perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (PFCAs; C3- 11) and three perfluoroalkane sulfonates (PFSAs; C4, 6, 8) and one perfluorooctanesulfonamide (FOSA; C8) were investigated in four treatments: biochar with active, biochar with inactive biofilm, biochar without biofilm and sand with active biofilm. We found that biochar with no biofilm achieved higher removal efficiency (90-99%) and the adsorption capacity (73 -168 ng g-1 ) for C7-C11 PFCAs, C6, C8 PFSAs and FOSA, than the other biochar and sand treatments. For all biochar treatments, shorter-chain PFASs were more resistant to removal than longer-chain PFASs.

New Publication: Health risks from wastewater irrigation in Bolivia


In our latest study published in Journal of Water and Health, we assessed the pathogen flows in a water&nutrients reuse system for production of lettuce in a peri-urban zone in the highlands of Bolivia. Viral and bacterial indicators, and helminth eggs were quantified in soil, water and lettuce samples taken during one crop season, and then statistically processed to analyse the flows of microbial contamination throughout the system.