|FRANKLIN, ALISON - Pennsylvania State University|
|ANDREWS, DANIELLE - Pennsylvania State University|
|WOODWARD, EMILY - Pennsylvania State University|
|WATSON, JOHN - Pennsylvania State University|
Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/31/2015
Publication Date: 3/1/2016
Citation: Franklin, A., Williams, C.F., Andrews, D., Woodward, E., Watson, J. 2016. Uptake of three antibiotics and an anti-epileptic drug by wheat plants spray irrigated with wastewater treatment plant effluent. Journal of Environmental Quality. 45:546–554.
Interpretive Summary: Rising demands on fresh water has resulted in the need to increase water supplies by the reuse of municipal effluent for irrigation. Pharmaceuticals are frequently found in effluent due to limited removal during wastewater treatment. The uptake of four drugs (sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim, ofloxacin and carbamazepine) by wheat plants irrigated with reclaimed water was measured. Residues of all four compounds were found on plant surfaces. Trimethoprim was found only on external surfaces. Ofloxacin was found throughout the plant with higher concentrations in the straw and lower concentrations in the grain. The highest average ofloxacin concentration measured was 10.2 ng g-1 in the straw with lower concentration in the grain (2.28 ng g-1). Carbamazepine and sulfamethoxazole were concentrated within the grain but at much lower concentrations than oflaxacin.
Technical Abstract: With rising demands on water supplies necessitating water reuse, wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent is often used to irrigate agricultural lands. Emerging contaminants, like pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), are frequently found in effluent due to limited removal during WWTP processes. Concern has arisen about the environmental fate of PPCPs, especially regarding plant uptake. This study's aim was to analyze the uptake of sulfamethoxazole (SMX), trimethoprim (TMP), ofloxacin (OFL) and carbamazepine (CBZ) in wheat plants (Triticum aestivum) that were spray irrigated with WWTP effluent. Wheat was collected prior to and during harvest with plants divided into grain and straw. Subsamples were rinsed with methanol to remove compounds adhering to surfaces. All plant tissues were analyzed by liquid-solid extraction, solid phase extraction (SPE) cleanup, and liquid chromatography - tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Residues of each compound were present on most plant surfaces. Ofloxacin was found throughout the plant with higher concentrations in the straw (10.2 ± 7.05 ng g-1) and lower concentrations in the grain (2.28 ± 0.89 ng g-1). Trimethoprim was found only on grain or straw surfaces, while CBZ and SMZ were concentrated within the grain (1.88 ± 2.11 ng g-1 and 0.64 ± 0.37 ng g-1, respectively). These findings demonstrate that PPCPs can be taken up into plant tissue and adhere to plant surfaces when WWTP effluent is spray irrigated. The presence of PPCPs in the tissue and on the surfaces of plants used as food sources raises the question of potential health risks for humans and animals.