Inconsistent seasonal variation of antibiotics between surface water and groundwater in the Jianghan Plain: Risks and linkage to land uses

Xuelei Wang , Xi Liu , Zhi Wang , Lu Zhang , Weiying Fan , Chao Yang , Enhua Li , Yun Du


Received January 11, 2021,Revised , Accepted March 01, 2021, Available online March 18, 2021

Volume 33,2021,Pages 102-113

Antibiotics are widely used in humans and animals, but their transformation from surface water to groundwater and the impact of land uses on them remain unclear. In this study, 14 antibiotics were systematically surveyed in a complex agricultural area in Central China. Results indicated that the selected antibiotic concentrations in surface waters were higher in winter (average: 32.7 ng/L) than in summer (average: 17.9 ng/L), while the seasonal variation in groundwaters showed an opposite trend (2.2 ng/L in dry winter vs. 8.0 ng/L in summer). Macrolides were the predominant antibiotics in this area, with a detected frequency of over 90%. A significant correlation between surface water and groundwater antibiotics was only observed in winter (R2 = 0.58). This study further confirmed the impact of land uses on these contaminants, with optimal buffer radii of 2500 m in winter and 500 m in summer. Risk assessment indicated that clarithromycin posed high risks in this area. Overall, this study identified the spatiotemporal variability of antibiotics in a typical agricultural area in Central China and revealed the impact of land uses on antibiotic pollution in aquatic environments.

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