Samir Khanal (MBBE) and a collaborator from Sun-Yat Sen University in Guangzhou, China, published a paper entitled “Understanding the Role of Extracellular Polymeric Substances on Ciprofloxacin Adsorption in Aerobic Sludge, Anaerobic Sludge, and Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Sludge Systems
” in the prestigious journal Environmental Science Technology
. What does this mean? As their abstract explains, antibiotics are widely used for the treatment of infectious diseases in both humans and animals and as growth promoters in livestock production and aquaculture. There has been significant increase in the human consumption of antibiotics in recent years, yet antibiotic use in animal production is much higher, due to the increasing demand for animal protein and livestock products. Only a fraction of the antibiotics used in both humans and animals are metabolized or absorbed in the body, while as high as ~50–90% are excreted, whether as the same compounds or as intermediates that have been chemically altered by digestion. Thus, antibiotic compounds and their metabolites have frequently been detected in the environment, including in surface water, groundwater, soils, and sediments. The ubiquitous presence of antibiotics in the environment has caused serious public concerns, especially because of their effects on human health, non-target microorganisms, and ecosystems; their contamination of food and drinking water; and the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and genes. The study examined the removal mechanism of the most common fluoroquinolone antibiotic, ciprofloxacin, in wastewater treatment systems.