Carbamazepine and lamotrigine prescribed antiepileptic drugs are highly persistent in the environment and were detected in crops irrigated with reclaimed wastewater. This study reports pharmacokinetics of the two drugs and their metabolites in cucumber plants under hydroponic culture, testing their uptake, translocation, and transformation over 96 h in single and bisolute systems at varying pH. Ruling out root adsorption and transformations in the nutrient solution, we demonstrate that carbamazepine root uptake is largely affected by the concentration gradient across the membrane. Unlike carbamazepine, lamotrigine is adsorbed to the root and undergoes ion trapping in root cells thus its translocation to the shoots is limited. On the basis of that, carbamazepine uptake was not affected by the presence of lamotrigine, while lamotrigine uptake was enhanced in the presence of carbamazepine. Transformation of carbamazepine in the roots was slightly reduced in the presence of lamotrigine. Carbamazepine metabolism was far more pronounced in the shoots than in the roots, indicating that most of the metabolism occurs in the leaves, probably due to higher concentration and longer residence time. This study indicates that the uptake of small nonionic pharmaceuticals is passive and governed by diffusion across the root membrane.
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© 2018 American Chemical Society.