Occurrence of antibiotics as emerging contaminant substances in aquatic environment

Int J Environ Health Res. 2013;23(4):296-310. doi: 10.1080/09603123.2012.733934. Epub 2012 Oct 16.


The occurrence of pharmaceutical residues in the environment has become a subject of growing concern. Due to the constant input of the emerging contaminants in the surface water via wastewater which leads to the long-term adverse effects on the aquatic and terrestrial organisms, special attention is being paid to their presence in the aquatic environment. Most of the emerging substances, especially pharmaceuticals, could not be completely removed using the wastewater treatment. Pharmaceuticals are usually water soluble and poorly degradable. They can pass through all natural filtrations and then reach the groundwater and, finally, the drinking water. The trace levels of antibiotics could have a negative impact on the environment and public health because of their inherent bioactivity. This article is an overview of the presence of the antibiotic residual concentrations, methods and levels of detection and possible risks to both health and environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / analysis*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Groundwater / chemistry*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Risk Assessment
  • Rivers / chemistry
  • Waste Water / chemistry*
  • Water Purification


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Waste Water