Tetracycline antibiotics in hospital and municipal wastewaters: a pilot study in Portugal

Pena, A.; Paulo, M.; Silva, L. J. G.; Seifrtová, M.; Lino, C. M.; Solich, P.
April 2010
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Apr2010, Vol. 396 Issue 8, p2929
Academic Journal
This study investigated the occurrence of tetracyclines (TCs), namely minocycline (MIN), TC, and its epimer epitetracycline (ETC), and doxycycline (DC), in four hospital wastewater effluents and its fate in municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), in Coimbra, Portugal. Analytical determination was carried out by solid-phase extraction followed by liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection. A gradient system with a mobile phase containing oxalic acid 0.02 M and acetonitrile was used. After postcolumn derivatization with magnesium reagent, TCs were detected at λexc 386 nm and λem 500 nm. The proposed method allowed good sensitivity, accuracy, and precision. LOQs were 0.5 μg l−1 for ETC and TC and 15 and 5 μg l−1 for MIN and DC, respectively. The recovery values ranged between 66.4% and 117.1%, and intraday and interday repeatability was lower than 6.8%. The method was successfully used to determine the presence of the above-mentioned TCs in 24 wastewater composite samples obtained from hospital effluents and from influent and effluent of the WWTP located in Coimbra, Portugal. MIN and TC were found in 41.7% of the samples; ETC and DC were found in 25% and 8.3% of the samples, respectively. The levels found ranged from 6 to 531.7 μg l−1 in hospital effluents, while its concentrations in WWTP ranged from 95.8 to 915.3 μg l−1. A seasonal influence in the concentrations found has also been observed, the levels found in samples collected during spring being higher than those observed in samples collected during autumn; however, these are only preliminary results. The WWTP removal rate ranged between 89.5% and 100%.


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