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Sci Total Environ. 1999 Jan 12;225(1-2):109-18.

Occurrence of antibiotics in the aquatic environment.

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ESWE Institute for Water Research and Water Technology, Wiesbaden, Germany.


The recent monitoring of drug residues in the aquatic environment has gained much interest as many pharmaceutical compounds can frequently be found in sewage treatment plant (STP) effluents and river water at concentrations up to several microgram/l. This article describes the analysis of various water samples for 18 antibiotic substances, from the classes of macrolid antibiotics, sulfonamides, penicillins and tetracyclines. Samples were preconcentrated via lyophilization and quantified using HPLC-electrospray-tandem-mass spectrometry. The investigated STP effluents and surface water samples showed frequent appearance of an erythromycin degradation product, roxithromycin and sulfamethoxazole with concentrations up to 6 micrograms/l. Neither tetracyclines nor penicillins could be detected at concentration levels above 50 and 20 ng/l, respectively. From the large number of ground water samples that were taken from agricultural areas in Germany, no contamination by antibiotics was detected except for two sites. This indicates that intake from veterinary applications to the aquatic environment is of minor importance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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