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Passive sampling: a cost-effective method for understanding antibiotic fate, behaviour and impact

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Environment International
Volume85
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)284-291
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date30/10/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The occurrence of antibiotics in the environment has raised much concern in recent years. Understanding their release, fate and behaviour in the environment is vital to assess potential risks. In this study, a novel passive water sampler - diffusion gradients in thin-films for organics (o-DGT) - was employed to assess the occurrence and removal of antibiotics in two waste water treatment plants (WWTPs) - one in China and the other in the United Kingdom (UK). Of the targeted compounds, 11 of 19 were detected in the Chinese WWTP (ND-200ng/L) and 10 of 40 were found in the UK plant (ND-1380ng/L). Florfenicol, lincomycin, ofloxacin and roxithromycin were most abundant in the Chinese WWTP (influent), while anhydrous erythromycin, ciprofloxacin, trimethoprim, ofloxacin and sulfapyridine were the most abundant in the UK influent samples. Estimated Chinese and UK consumption data are used to interpret the results. Neither of the WWTPs was very effective at removing antibiotics: ~40-50% (overall) was removed by the two plants, with the rest being discharged into the receiving rivers. This is the first study using o-DGT to assess the occurrence and removal of antibiotics in WWTPs. o-DGT is a useful, cost-effective tool to assess WWTP performance and can highlight the effectiveness of treatment steps, which can be applied to wastewater based epidemiology studies.