Uptake and translocation of sulfamethazine by alfalfa grown under hydroponic conditions

Garrett Struckhoff , Kameron Pugh , Om Singh , Sudarshan Kurwadkar


Received March 11, 2016,Revised April 20, 2016, Accepted April 27, 2016, Available online July 02, 2016

Volume 53,2017,Pages 217-223

Antibiotics are routinely used in intensive animal agriculture operations collectively known as Concentrated Animal Feed Operations (CAFO) which include dairy, poultry and swine farms. Wastewater generated by CAFOs often contains low levels of antibiotics and is typically managed in an anaerobic lagoon. The objective of this research is to investigate the uptake and fate of aqueous sulfamethazine (SMN) antibiotic by alfalfa (Medicago sativa) grass grown under hydroponic conditions. Uptake studies were conducted using hydroponically grown alfalfa in a commercially available nutrient solution supplemented with 10 mg/L of SMN antibiotic. Analysis of alfalfa sap, root zone, middle one-third, and top portion of the foliage showed varying uptake rate and translocation of SMN. The highest average amount of SMN (8.58 μg/kg) was detected in the root zone, followed by the top portion (1.89 μg/kg), middle one-third (1.30 μg/kg), and sap (0.38 μg/kg) samples, indicating a clear distribution of SMN within the sampled regions. The ultraviolet (UV) spectra of parent SMN and translocated SMN identified in different parts of the plant present the possibility of metabolization during the uptake process. Uptake of SMN using alfalfa grown under hydroponic conditions has potential as a promising remediation technology for removal of similar antibiotics from wastewater lagoons.

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