Publication details

Wide-Scope Target and Suspect Screening of Antibiotics in Effluent Wastewater from Wastewater Treatment Plants in Europe

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NG Kelsey Kwong Pui ALYGIZAKIS Nikiforos A. THOMAIDIS Nikolaos S. SLOBODNÍK Jaroslav

Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Antibiotics
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords antibiotics; wide-scope target screening; wide-scope suspect screening; ecotoxicological risk assessment; antibiotic-resistance
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Description The occurrence of antibiotics in the environment could result in the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which could result in a public health crisis. The occurrence of 676 antibiotics and the main transformation products (TPs) was investigated in the 48 wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) from 11 countries (Germany, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Czechia, Austria, Cyprus, and Greece) by target and suspect screening. Target screening involved the investigation of antibiotics with reference standards (40 antibiotics). Suspect screening covered 676 antibiotics retrieved from the NORMAN Substance Database (antibiotic list on NORMAN network). Forty-seven antibiotics were detected in effluent wastewater samples: thirty-two by target screening and fifteen additional ones by suspect screening. An ecotoxicological risk assessment was performed based on occurrence data and predicted no effect concentration (PNEC), which involved the derivation of frequency of appearance (FoA), frequency of PNEC exceedance (FoE), and extent of PNEC exceedance (EoE). Azithromycin, erythromycin, clarithromycin, ofloxacin, and ciprofloxacin were prioritized as the calculated risk score was above 1. The median of antibiotics' load to freshwater ecosystems was 0.59 g/day/WWTP. The detection of antibiotics across countries indicates the presence of antibiotics in the ecosystems of Europe, which may trigger unwanted responses from the ecosystem, including antibiotic resistance.
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