Oxidation of antibiotics by ferrate(VI) in water: Evaluation of their removal efficiency and toxicity changes


Antibiotics in water and wastewater have been determined extensively. The treatment of antibiotics in water needs evaluation of possible harmful effects on aquatic ecosystems and human health. This paper presents the toxicity evaluation of antibiotics after their treatment with ferrate (VI) (FeVIO42-, Fe(VI)) in water. The antibiotics (sulfamethoxazole (SMX), erythromycin (ERY), ofloxacin (OFL), ciprofloxacin (CIP), tetracycline (TET), oxytetracycline (OXY), and trimethoprim (TMP)) were treated at pH 8.0 by applying two concentrations of Fe(VI) to have molar ratios of 5:1 and 10:1 ([Fe(VI)]:[antibiotic]). Under the studied conditions, incomplete removal of antibiotics was observed, suggesting that the treated solutions contained parent antibiotics and their transformation products. The toxicity of antibiotics without Fe(VI) treatment was tested against freshwater green alga Raphidocelis subcapitata and cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus, which were determined to be generally sensitive to antibiotics, with EC50 < 1.0 mg/L. The toxicity of Fe(VI) treated solution was tested against R. subcapitata. Results found no toxicity for the treated solutions of OFL, CIP, and OXY. However, SMX, ERY, and TET remained toxic after Fe(VI) treatment (i.e., more than 75% growth inhibition of R. subcapitata). Results demonstrated that R. subcapitata may be applied to test the toxicity of antibiotics after oxidative treatments.

Authors: Pavla Kovalakova, Leslie Cizmas, Mingbao Feng, Thomas J McDonald, Blahoslav Marsalek, Virender K Sharma
; Full Source: Chemosphere 2021 Aug;277:130365. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.130365.