Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Metabolites of pharmaceuticals identified in wastewater

17.03.2006


University at Buffalo chemists have for the first time identified at wastewater treatment plants the metabolites of two antibiotics and a medial imaging agent.



The data, which the UB scientists will present tomorrow at the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy being held in Orlando, will allow wastewater treatment plants to begin monitoring for these byproducts.

The results also reinforce concerns about excreted pharmaceutical compounds from wastewater systems that may end up in the water supply, potentially resulting in adverse effects for humans and the environment.


For example, antibiotics and their metabolites can significantly increase antibiotic resistance in the population. Synthetic hormones can act as endocrine disruptors, by mimicking or blocking hormones and disrupting the body’s normal functions.

The UB presentations will be made as part of a day-long symposium to be held March 16 on "Degradation and Treatment of Pharmaceuticals in the Environment." It will be chaired by Diana Aga, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry in UB’s College of Arts and Sciences and leader of the UB team.

According to Aga, it has been only in the past five years that analytical-chemistry techniques have become sufficiently affordable and practical to allow researchers to detect pharmaceuticals and their metabolites efficiently at the parts-per-billion and parts-per-trillion range.

"Current wastewater treatment processes are optimized to reduce nitrates and phosphates and dissolved organic carbon, the major pollutants of concern in domestic wastes," said Aga. "However, treatment facilities don’t monitor or measure organic microcontaminants like residues of pharmaceuticals and active ingredients of personal care products."

Aga said that most previous studies looked for drugs’ active ingredients in treated wastewater.

"But now we are doing laboratory studies to characterize what these ingredients degrade into during wastewater processing," she added. "The lesson is that not detecting active ingredients in the effluent doesn’t mean the water is clean. The pharmaceuticals we monitored are not degraded completely in the treatment plants; most of them are just transformed into other compounds that still may have adverse ecotoxicological effects."

The UB researchers have identified the metabolites for sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim, commonly prescribed antibiotics, and for a synthetic estrogen, a common ingredient in birth control pills and in hormone replacement therapy.

In research published in January in Analytical Chemistry, the UB chemists also found that iopromide, a pharmaceutical imaging agent that patients consume before taking MRI tests, is barely degraded in the conventional activated sludge process.

However, they found that when conditions in biological treatment systems are optimized for nitrogen removal, this imaging agent does degrade.

Aga said that these findings have important implications because it means that wastewater treatment processes can be optimized to remove persistent pharmaceuticals in wastewater.

The UB researchers obtained samples during fall and spring from local wastewater treatment plants in the Western New York towns of Amherst, East Aurora, Lackawanna, Tonawanda and Holland, representing suburban, urban and rural areas.

They sampled effluent before and after each water-treatment stage to examine relative efficiencies of each treatment process.

Aga noted that based on the team’s findings, a combination of biological, chemical and physical processing techniques probably will be the most successful to remove completely pharmaceutical compounds and their metabolites from wastewater.

"Originally, it was hoped that during the disinfection process, through chlorination or ultraviolet techniques, removal of the drugs that we studied would be enhanced, but, in fact, neither of these is effective," she said.

The researchers did find, however, that that most wastewater treatment processes are effective in significantly degrading some common antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin and tetracycline.

Ellen Goldbaum | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.buffalo.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

nachricht Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017
25.04.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>