Direct photo transformation of tetracycline and sulfanomide group antibiotics in surface water: Kinetics, toxicity and site modeling

Cai jie Wei, Xiao yan Li, Yue feng Xie, Xiao mao Wang

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32 Scopus citations


The direct photo-transformation of widely used antibiotics, including Tetracycline (TTC), chlortetracycline (CTC), sulfamethoxazole (SMX) and sulfamethazine (SMZ) were quantified for surface water by using artificial UV irradiation. The photolysis rate is directly proportional to the overlap between the absorption spectrum of the solution and the spectrum of the terrestrial sunlight. Increasing overlap fraction of Tetracycline (TC) group than Sulfanomide (Sulfa) group, the transformation of TC group is certified much faster than the sulfa group. The speciation of TC and Sulfa group antibiotics are pH-dependent and consequently influence its light adsorption spectrum. And the toxicity of the four target antibiotics along the photo-transformation was assessed. In field aquatic environment, a temporal- and spatial half-life model described the behavior of the antibiotics in water column of victoria harbour could be validated by using experimentally obtained quantum yield with the target field meteorological data. The modeling results indicated the photolysis rate of different kind of antibiotics varied differently along season, daily time and water depth. Summer, midday and surface layer of water body would be the time- and space-highlight spot in which the phototransformation are the dominant process for antibiotics concentration depletion. Seasonal variety would be enhanced for sulfa-group kind antibiotics, which having only tail overlapped with irradiation spectrum. Daily averaged half-lives of TC group were relatively stable, while the sulfa group antibiotics were found to vary from about 300 to 750 h, dependent on the seasonal change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Oct 10 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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