Pharmacokinetics of the Recalcitrant Drug Lamotrigine: Identification and Distribution of Metabolites in Cucumber Plants

Moran Madmon, Yifat Zvuluni, Vered Mordehay, Ariel Hindi, Tomer Malchi, Eyal Drug, Moshe Shenker, Avi Weissberg*, Benny Chefetz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Treated wastewater is an important source of water for irrigation. As a result, irrigated crops are chronically exposed to wastewater-derived pharmaceuticals, such as the anticonvulsant drug lamotrigine. Lamotrigine is known to be taken up by plants, but its plant-derived metabolites and their distribution in different plant organs are unknown. This study aimed to detect and identify metabolites of lamotrigine in cucumber plants grown for 35 days in a hydroponic solution by using LC-MS/MS (Orbitrap) analysis. Our data showed that 96% of the lamotrigine taken up was metabolized. Sixteen metabolites possessing a lamotrigine core structure were detected. Reference standards confirmed two; five were tentatively identified, and nine molecular formulas were assigned. The data suggest that lamotrigine is metabolized via N-carbamylation, N-glucosidation, N-alkylation, N-formylation, N-oxidation, and amidine hydrolysis. The metabolites LTG-N2-oxide, M284, M312, and M370 were most likely produced in the roots and were translocated to the leaves. Metabolites M272, M312, M314, M354, M368, M370, and M418 were dominant in leaves. Only a few metabolites were detected in the fruits. With an increasing exposure time, lamotrigine leaf concentrations decreased because of continuous metabolism. Our data showed that the metabolism of lamotrigine in a plant is fast and that a majority of metabolites are concentrated in the roots and leaves.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)20228-20237
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number48
StatePublished - 5 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Chemical Society.


  • chemical structure
  • conjugation
  • irrigation
  • lamictal
  • transformation
  • wastewater


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