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Science of The Total Environment
Vol. 746, 2020

How microbial community composition, sorption and simultaneous application of six pharmaceuticals affect their dissipation in soils

Radka Kodešováa, Alica Chronákováb, Katerina Grabicovác, Martin Kocáreka, Zuzana Schmidtováa, Zuzana Frkováb,d, Andrea Vojs Stanováce, Antonín Nikodema, Aleš Klementa, Miroslav Féra, Roman Grabicc

Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural Resources, Dept. of Soil Science and Soil Protection, Kamýcká 129, CZ-16500 Prague 6, Czech Republic


Pharmaceuticals may enter soils due to the application of treated wastewater or biosolids. Their leakage from soils towards the groundwater, and their uptake by plants is largely controlled by sorption and degradation of those compounds in soils. Standard laboratory batch degradation and sorption experiments were performed using soil samples obtained from the top horizons of seven different soil types and 6 pharmaceuticals (carbamazepine, irbesartan, fexofenadine, clindamycin and sulfamethoxazole), which were applied either as single-solute solutions or as mixtures (not for sorption). The highest dissipation half-lives were observed for citalopram (average DT50,S for a single compound of 152?±?53.5?days) followed by carbamazepine (106.0?±?17.5?days), irbesartan (24.4?±?3.5?days), fexofenadine (23.5?±?20.9?days), clindamycin (10.8?±?4.2?days) and sulfamethoxazole (9.6?±?2.0?days). The simultaneous application of all compounds increased the half-lives (DT50,M) of all compounds (particularly carbamazepine, citalopram, fexofenadine and irbesartan), which is likely explained by the negative impact of antibiotics (sulfamethoxazole and clindamycin) on soil microbial community. However, this trend was not consistent in all soils. In several cases, the DT50,S values were even higher than the DT50,M values. Principal component analyses showed that while knowledge of basic soil properties determines grouping of soils according sorption behavior, knowledge of the microbial community structure could be used to group soils according to the dissipation behavior of tested compounds in these soils. The derived multiple linear regression models for estimating dissipation half-lives (DT50,S) for citalopram, clindamycin, fexofenadine, irbesartan and sulfamethoxazole always included at least one microbial factor (either amount of phosphorus in microbial biomass or microbial biomarkers derived from phospholipid fatty acids) that deceased half-lives (i.e., enhanced dissipations). Equations for citalopram, clindamycin, fexofenadine and sulfamethoxazole included the Freundlich sorption coefficient, which likely increased half-lives (i.e., prolonged dissipations).

Graphical abstract

Keywords: Soil properties, Freundlich sorption equation, Half-life, Phospholipid fatty acids, Regression models for estimating half-lives

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