Occurrence, spatial distribution and ecological risks of antibiotics in soil in urban agglomeration

Liding Chen , Min Li , Lei Yang , Haw Yen , Fangkai Zhao , Xinmiao Wang , Tianhui Zhou , Qingyu Feng


Received January 16, 2022,Revised , Accepted March 16, 2022, Available online March 28, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 678-690

Antibiotics in soil environment are regarded as emerging pollutants and have introduced increasing risks to soil ecosystem and human health in rapid urbanization areas. Identifying the occurrence and spatial variability of antibiotics in soils is an urgent issue in sustaining soil security. In this study, antibiotics in soils were investigated and analyzed in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei urban agglomeration. The occurrence, spatial distribution, and related affecting factors of antibiotics in soils were identified and ecological risks of antibiotics in soil environment were assessed. Results showed that (1) The mean concentration of soil antibiotics in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei urban agglomeration was 21.79 µg/kg. Land use substantially affected the occurrence and concentration of antibiotics in soils. Concentrations of antibiotics in cropland and orchard soils were 2-3 times higher than the other land use types. (2) The concentrations of antibiotics in soils in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei urban agglomeration presented a spatial pattern of high values in southeast, and low values in northwest. Spatial variability of antibiotics in soils was closely related to the application of organic fertilizer and wastewater irrigation as well as topographical features. Furthermore, soil properties and land management policy had substantial influences on soil antibiotics, and soil heavy metals may aggravate the accumulation of antibiotics in soils. (3) Ecological risks assessment of antibiotics in soils demonstrated that erythromycin (ERY), sulfamethoxazole (SMX), and doxycycline (DOX) may introduce high risks to soil ecosystem health, and more attention should be paid to the areas with intensive human activities that had potential high risk to soil ecosystem health. This study suggests that scientific land and soil management should be considered to prevent soil antibiotic pollution and sustain soil security in urban agglomeration.

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