Antibiotics in a subtropical food web from the Beibu Gulf, South China: Occurrence, bioaccumulation and trophic transfer.

Research paper by Qi Q Wu, Chang-Gui CG Pan, Ying-Hui YH Wang, Shao-Ke SK Xiao, Ke-Fu KF Yu

Indexed on: 06 Sep '20Published on: 06 Sep '20Published in: Science of the Total Environment


Antibiotics are of particular concern because of their ubiquity in aquatic environment and long-term adverse effects on aquatic organisms and humans. However, there is no information about the bioaccumulation and trophic magnification of antibiotics in subtropical environments. In this study, we determined the concentrations of 22 antibiotics to investigate their occurrence, bioaccumulation and trophic magnification in a subtropical food web from the Beibu Gulf. The total concentrations of target antibiotics ranged from 52.94-77.76 ng/L in seawater, 9.69-15.43 ng/g dry weight (dw) in sediment, and 0.68-4.75 ng/g wet weight (ww) in marine organisms, respectively. Macrolides were the predominant antibiotics in water, while fluoroquinolones were more abundant in sediment and biota samples. The total concentrations of target antibiotics in examined marine taxa descended in the order: crustacean > cephalopod > fish, with antibiotic profiles displaying distinct difference among taxa. Log BAFs (bioaccumulation factor) for antibiotics in all organisms ranged from -0.50 for erythromycin-HO (ETM-HO) to 2.82 for sulfamonomethoxine (SMM). Significantly negative correlation was observed between the log D and log BAF values (p < .05), indicating that log D is a good predictor of antibiotics bioaccumulation potential in marine organisms. The trophic magnification factors (TMFs) for sulfadiazine (SDZ) and enoxacin (ENX) were greater than unity, suggesting the trophic magnification of these chemicals through the food web. In contrast, enrofloxacin (ENR), ciprofloxacin (CIX), ofloxacin (OFX), norfloxacin (NOX), ETM-HO and trimethoprim (TMP) were biodiluted in the food web from the Beibu Gulf. This study provides substantial information on the fate and trophic transfer of antibiotics in a subtropical marine ecosystem. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.