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Chemosphere. 2009 Apr;75(4):417-34. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2008.11.086. Epub 2009 Jan 30.

Antibiotics in the aquatic environment--a review--part I.

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1
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University Medical Center Freiburg, Breisacher Strasse 115B, D-79106 Freiburg i.Br, Germany. Klaus.kuemmerer@uniklinik-freiburg.de

Abstract

Although antibiotics have been used in large quantities for some decades, until recently the existence of these substances in the environment has received little notice. It is only in recent years that a more complex investigation of antibiotic substances has been undertaken in order to permit an assessment of the environmental risks they may pose. Within the last decade an increasing number of studies covering antibiotic input, occurrence, fate and effects have been published, but there is still a lack of understanding and knowledge about antibiotics in the aquatic environment despite the numerous studies performed. This review addresses the present state of knowledge concerning the input, occurrence, fate and effects of antibiotics in the environment. It brings up important questions that are still open, and addresses some significant issues which must be tackled in the future for a better understanding of the behavior of antibiotics in the environment, as well as the risks associated with their occurrence. Questions related to resistance in the environment that may be caused by antibiotics will be addressed in the second part.

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