Biodegradability of pharmaceutical compounds in agricultural soils irrigated with treated wastewater

Amnon Grossberger, Yitzhak Hadar, Thomas Borch, Benny Chefetz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

174 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pharmaceutical compounds (PCs) are introduced into agricultural soils via irrigation with treated wastewater (TWW). Our data show that carbamazepine, lamotrigine, caffeine, metoprolol, sulfamethoxazole and sildenafil are persistent in soils when introduced via TWW. However, other PCs, namely diclofenac, ibuprofen, bezafibrate, gemfibrozil and naproxen were not detected in soils when introduced via TWW. This is likely due to rapid degradation as confirmed in our microcosm studies where they exhibited half-lives (t 1/2) between 0.2-9.5 days when soils were spiked at 50 ng/g soil and between 3 and 68 days when soils were spiked at 5000 ng/g soil. The degradation rate and extent of PCs observed in microcosm studies were similar in soils that had been previously irrigated with TWW or fresh water. This suggests that pre-exposure of the soils to PCs via irrigation with TWW does not enhance their biodegradation. This suggests that PCs are probably degraded in soils via co-metabolism.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)168-177
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Volume185
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was partially supported by research grants from DFG (PECtake project), the Environment and Health Fund , and by BARD , the United States-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund ( US-4551-12 ).

Keywords

  • Biodegradation
  • Co-metabolism
  • Drugs
  • Half-life time
  • Irrigation

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