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Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Oct 1;42(19):7193-200.

Azole fungicides: occurrence and fate in wastewater and surface waters.

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Plant Protection Chemistry, Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil Research Station ACW, Schloss, P. O. Box 185, 8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland.


The mode of action of azole compounds implies a potential to affect endocrine systems of different organisms and is reason for environmental concern. The occurrence and fate of nine agricultural azole fungicides, some of them also used as biocides, and four azole pharmaceuticals were studied in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and lakes in Switzerland. Two pharmaceuticals (fluconazole, clotrimazole, 10-110 ng L(-1)) and two biocides (propiconazole, tebuconazole, 1-30 ng L(-1)) were consistently observed in WWTP influents. Loads determined in untreated and treated wastewater indicated thatfluconazole, propiconazole, and tebuconazole were largely unaffected by wastewater treatment, but clotrimazole was effectively eliminated (> 80%). Incubation studies with activated sludge showed no degradation for fluconazole and clotrimazole within 24 h, but strong sorption of clotrimazole to activated sludge. Slow degradation and some sorption were observed for tebuconazole and propiconazole (degradation half-lives, 2-3 d). In lakes, fluconazole, propiconazole, and tebuconazole were detected at low nanogram-per-liter levels. Concentrations of the pharmaceutical fluconazole correlated with the expected contamination by domestic wastewater, but not those of the biocides. Per capita loads of propiconazole and tebuconazole in lakes suggested additional inputs; for example, from agricultural use or urban runoff rainwater.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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