Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.watres.2024.121416
Title (Primary) Natural attenuation of sulfonamides and metabolites in contaminated groundwater – Review, advantages and challenges of current documentation techniques
Author Ottosen, C.F.; Bjerg, P.L.; Kümmel, S.; Richnow, H.H.; Middeldorp, P.; Draborg, H.; Lemaire, G.G.; Broholm, M.M.
Source Titel Water Research
Year 2024
Department TECH
Volume 254
Page From art. 121416
Language englisch
Topic T7 Bioeconomy
Keywords Antibiotic biodegradation; transformation products; monitored natural attenuation; compound-specific stable isotope analysis; emerging groundwater contaminants; microbial analysis
Abstract Sulfonamides are applied worldwide as antibiotics. They are emerging contaminants of concern, as their presence in the environment may lead to the spread of antibiotic resistance genes. Sulfonamides are present in groundwater systems, which suggest their persistence under certain conditions, highlighting the importance of understanding natural attenuation processes in groundwater. Biodegradation is an essential process, as degradation of sulfonamides reduces the risk of antibiotic resistance spreading. In this review, natural attenuation, and in particular assessment of biodegradation, is evaluated for sulfonamides in groundwater systems. The current knowledge level on biodegradation is reviewed, and a scientific foundation is built based on sulfonamide degradation processes, pathways, metabolites and toxicity. An overview of bacterial species and related metabolites is provided. The main research effort has focused on aerobic conditions while investigations under anaerobic conditions are lacking. The level of implementation in research is laboratory scale; here we strived to bridge towards field application and assessment, by assessing in situ approaches commonly used in monitored natural attenuation. Methods to document contaminant mass loss are assessed to be applicable for sulfonamides, while there is a lack of reference standards for metabolites. Furthermore, additional information is required on relevant metabolites in order to improve risk assessments. Based on the current knowledge on biodegradation, it is suggested to use the presence of substituent-containing metabolites from breakage of the sulfonamide bridge as specific indicators of degradation. Microbial approaches are currently available for assessment of microbial community's capacities, however, more knowledge is required on indigenous bacteria capable of degrading sulfonamides and on the impact of environmental conditions on biodegradation. Compound specific stable isotope analysis shows great potential as an additional in situ method, but further developments are required to analyse for sulfonamides at environmentally relevant levels. Finally, in a monitored natural attenuation scheme it is assessed that approaches are available that can uncover some processes related to the fate of sulfonamides in groundwater systems. Nevertheless, there are still unknowns related to relevant bacteria and metabolites for risk assessment as well as the effect of environmental settings such as redox conditions. Alongside, uncovering the fate of sulfonamides in future research, the applicability of the natural attenuation documentation approaches will advance, and provide a step towards in situ remedial concepts for the frequently detected sulfonamides.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Ottosen, C.F., Bjerg, P.L., Kümmel, S., Richnow, H.H., Middeldorp, P., Draborg, H., Lemaire, G.G., Broholm, M.M. (2024):
Natural attenuation of sulfonamides and metabolites in contaminated groundwater – Review, advantages and challenges of current documentation techniques
Water Res. 254 , art. 121416 10.1016/j.watres.2024.121416