Journal of agricultural and food chemistry

Distribution of antibiotics in wastewater-irrigated soils and their accumulation in vegetable crops in the Pearl River Delta, southern China.

PMID 25356527


Wastewater is increasingly being used to irrigate agricultural land in many countries around the world. However, limited research has examined the occurrence of antibiotics in soil irrigated with wastewater and their accumulation in plants. This study aimed to determine the distribution of various types of antibiotics in different environmental matrices in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region and to evaluate their accumulation and translocation in edible crops. Samples were collected from six sites in the PRD where either domestic wastewater or fishpond water was used for irrigation. Results showed that fishpond water irrigated soils had higher concentrations of antibiotics than wastewater-irrigated soils. Different trends were observed in the accumulation of antibiotics in the different edible parts of various crops. Despite the low human annual exposure to antibiotics through the consumption of edible crops (1.10 to 7950 μg/y), the potential adverse effects of antibiotics along the food chain should not be neglected.