DOM as an indicator of occurrence and risks of antibiotics in a city-river-reservoir system with multiple pollution sources

Yongpeng Zhang, Bo Zhang, Yiliang He, Ovadia Lev, Guanghui Yu, Genxiang Shen, Shuangqing Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multiple sources contribute to the presence of antibiotic residues in water environments, and the environmental risks caused by antibiotics were paid more and more attention. This work aims to establish a relationship between optical properties of dissolved organic matter (DOM) and sources and risks of antibiotics. Occurrence of antibiotics and DOM in a city-river-reservoir freshwater system containing distinct antibiotic sources was investigated during three seasons using LC-MS and fluorescence excitation-emission matrix coupled with parallel factor analysis (EEM-PARAFAC), respectively. The results showed that antibiotics and DOM in the water had trends of increasing levels from the upstream to the midstream in the system. Five classes of antibiotics had statistically significant correlations with the humic-like component (C3) in the water (Pearson, p < 0.05). Especially, norfloxacin (NFX), which was dominant in the aquaculture source, significantly increased the fluorescence of C3 according to the fluorescence titration (R2 = 0.86, p < 0.01). Furthermore, fluorescence signature in the aquaculture pond posed broad humic acid-like peaks with relatively higher abundances compared to other areas. These results suggested that C3 could be recognized as an indicator of NFX from aquaculture sources. Meanwhile, C3 can largely account for ecological risks of tetracyclines according to the results of redundancy analysis. This work highlights the roles of EEM-PARAFAC on tracing the source of antibiotics and the correlations between environmental risks of antibiotics and DOM in the aquatic environment.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)276-289
Number of pages14
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 10 Oct 2019


  • Antibiotics
  • Dissolved organic matter
  • Environmental risk
  • Parallel factor analysis
  • Sources

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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