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Uptake, translocation and possible biodegradation of the antidiabetic agent metformin by hydroponically grown Typha latifolia

Hao Cui, Peter Schröder
Journal of hazardous materials 2016 v.308 pp. 355-361
Typha latifolia, aquatic environment, bioaccumulation, biodegradation, ecotoxicology, effluents, exposure duration, hydroponics, leaves, medicine, metformin, phytoremediation, rhizomes, roots, sewage, wastewater treatment
The increasing load of pharmaceutical compounds has raised concerns about their potential residues in aquatic environments and ecotoxicity. Metformin (MET), a widely prescribed antidiabetic II medicine, has been detected in high concentration in sewage and in wastewater treatment effluents. An uptake and translocation study was carried out to assess the ultimate fate of MET in phytoremediation. MET was removed from media by Typha latifolia, and the removal processes followed first order kinetics. After 28 days, the removal efficiencies were in a range of 74.0±4.1–81.1±3.3%. In roots, MET concentration was increasing during the first two weeks of the experiment but thereafter decreasing. In contrast, MET concentration was continuously increasing in rhizomes and leaves. Bioaccumulation of MET in roots was much higher than in leaves and rhizomes. As degradation product of metformin in the plant, methylbiguanide (MBG) was detected whereas guanylurea was undetectable. Moreover, MBG concentration in roots was increasing with exposure time. An enzymatic degradation experiment showed the degradation rate followed the order of MET<MBG<<guanylurea. This may explain the low concentration of MBG in plant. The findings of this study contribute to understand and evaluate the potential for phytoremediation of such kind of contaminants.