The degradation of diclofenac (DCF), trimethoprim (TMP), carbamazepine (CBZ), and sulfamethoxazole (SMX) by laccase from Trametes versicolor was investigated. Experiments were conducted using the pharmaceuticals individually, or as a mixture at different initial concentrations (1.25 and 5 mg/L each). The initial enzymatic activity of all the treated samples was around 430-460 U (DMP) /L. The removal of the four selected pharmaceuticals tested individually was more effective than when tested in mixtures under the same conditions. For example, 5 mg DCF/L was completely removed to below its detection limit (1 µg/L) within 8 h in the individual experiment vs. after 24 h when dosed as a mixture with the other pharmaceuticals. A similar trend was visible with other three pharmaceuticals, with 95 vs. 39%, 82 vs. 34% and 56 vs. 49% removal after 48 h with 5 mg/L of TMP, CBZ, and SMX tested individually or as mixtures, respectively. In addition, at the lower initial concentration (1.25 mg/L each), the removal efficiency of TMP, CBZ, and SMX in mixtures was lower than that obtained at the higher initial concentrations (5 mg/L each) during both the individual and combined treatments. Four enzymatic transformation products (TPs) were identified during the individual treatments of DCF and CBZ by T. versicolor. For TMP and SMX, no major TPs were observed under the experimental conditions used. The toxicity of the solution before and after enzymatic treatment of each pharmaceutical was also assessed and all treated effluent samples were verified to be non-toxic.
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