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Occurrence and Fate of Antibiotics in the Aqueous Environment and Their Removal by Constructed Wetlands in China: A review

GUAN, Yidong, WANG, Bo, GAO, Yongxia, LIU, Wen, ZHAO, Xiaoli, HUANG, Xiaofeng, YU, Jianghua
Pedosphere 2017 v.27 no.1 pp. 42-51
antibiotic resistance, antibiotics, bacteria, constructed wetlands, drugs, municipal wastewater, plants (botany), rivers, wastewater treatment, water supply, China, Yangtze River, Yellow River
Overuse of antibiotics has become a serious ecological problem worldwide. There is growing concern that antibiotics are losing their effectiveness due to an increased antibiotic resistance in bacteria. During the last twenty years, consumption of antibiotics has increased rapidly in China, which has been cited as one of the world's worst abusers of antibiotics. This review summarizes the current state of antibiotic contamination in China's three major rivers (the Yangtze River, Yellow River, and Pearl River) and illustrates the occurrence and fate of antibiotics in conventional municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). The analytical data indicate that traditional WWTPs cannot completely remove these concerned pharmaceuticals, as seen in the large difference between the distribution coefficient (Kd) and the uneven removal efficiency of various types of antibiotics. Although constructed wetlands (CWs) offer a potential way to remove these antibiotics from water supplies, knowledge of their mechanisms is limited. There are four main factors affecting the performance of CWs used for the treatment of antibiotics in water supplies, the types and configurations of CWs, hydraulic load rates, substrates, and plants and microorganisms. Further researches focusing on these factors are needed to improve the removal efficiency of antibiotics in CWs.