Title: Plastisphere in urban wastewaters: Membrane based hybrid systems for water reuse and sludge recycling

Duration: 2023 - 2027

Research groups: Membrane technology



The objective of EMERGING will be to study the interaction between contaminants of emerging concerns such as micronanoplastics (MNPs), antibiotic resistant bacterias (ARBs) and genes (ARGs) as well as the removal efficiency of these emerging contaminants by membrane-based hybrid treatment technologies from wastewaters. In addition, in line with the One Health approach, EMERGING will generate frontier knowledge on the water and sludge quality assessment for agricultural use, evaluating the effect of MNPs, ARBs and ARGs on the growth of crops.

General activities

  • Evaluation of MNP interaction with ARBs and ARGs in wastewaters.
  • Evaluation of the effect of plastisphere in wastewater treatment by integrated membrane systems.
  • Evaluation of hybrid systems for the simultaneous removal of MNPs, ARBs and ARGs.
  • Water reuse and sludge recycling in crop cultivation

Expected impact

The results of the EMERGING project will contribute to addressing the current challenge of emerging pollutants by:

  • Generation of knowledge and real data on the interactions of MNPs, ARBs and ARGs, and their effect on wastewater treatment.
  • Validation of hybrid systems for the simultaneous removal of MNPs, ARBs and ARGs.
  • Study at the agronomic level of the possible risks of water reuse and sludge recycling in relation to MNPs, ARBs and ARGs. The results of the project’s quality assessment will help to make a more realistic assessment of emerging pollutant discharges from wastewater treatment plants.

The results of the EMERGING project will contribute to decision making and optimization of the systems studied and/or the design of new regeneration prototypes, new MNP analysis protocols and improvements at the agronomic level to ensure the safe reuse of water in agriculture. All of this could serve as a basis for possible future regulation of emerging pollutants. In addition, this will contribute to a paradigm shift in the conversion of wastewater treatment plants into resource recovery facilities, which is a key strategy for managing water stress in line with the Green Pact and the Circular Economy Action Plan. Furthermore, the objectives of the EMERGING project are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG6), the EU One Health Action Plan against antimicrobial resistance and the EU Mission “Restore our oceans and waters.


Grant PID2022-143233OB-I00 funded by: