Fate and Effects of Fluoroquinolone Antibacterial Agents in Aquatic Ecosystems

EPA Grant Number: R829008
Title: Fate and Effects of Fluoroquinolone Antibacterial Agents in Aquatic Ecosystems
Investigators: Graham, David W. , Larive, Cynthia K. , Lydy, Michael J. , deNoyelles, Frank J.
Institution: University of Kansas
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Project Period: August 20, 2001 through August 19, 2004 (Extended to August 19, 2006)
Project Amount: $520,976
RFA: Drinking Water (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Drinking Water , Water Quality , Water


The major of objective of this study is to assess the fate, attenuation, and ecotoxicity of selected fluoroquinolone (FQ) antibiotics on surface water quality. Defining the fate of these compounds is important because FQs are used extensively in both agriculture and medicine, although little is known, as of yet, about their fate or impact. They are of concern because they are usually released to the environment in a bioactive form, and have also been shown to confer antibiotic resistance in exposed microorganisms to both FQ and non-FQ antibiotics. Here we will assess FQ fate and impact on both microbial and invertebrate populations using both laboratory and field mesocosm studies with the goal of determining whether FQs impact water quality at environmentally relevant exposure concentrations.


Four tasks will be performed: (1) develop analytical methods for detecting FQs and possible breakdown products in environmental samples; (2) determine attenuation rates and mechanisms of FQs in aquatic systems; (3) assess toxicological impacts of FQs on selected invertebrate species; and (4) determine the impact of FQs on microbial community conditions, co-contaminant fate, and antibiotic resistance development in exposed organisms. Tasks will be performed using both laboratory- and field-scale systems. In the first two years of the study, laboratory experiments will be used to develop analytical techniques for FQs and potential breakdown products, and establish general relationships between FQ fate and water chemistry conditions. Molecular biological and other monitoring methods also will be developed and tested for assessing FQ exposure impacts, including antibiotic resistance development in exposed organisms. In the final year, mesocosm-scale experiments will be performed to field-validate laboratory results. In particular, experiments will be used to verify in situ FQ transformation rates and mechanisms, and relationships between FQ exposure level, water chemistry, and microbial community conditions.

Expected Results:

Through this study, we will develop clear, field-tested data on the fate and impact of FQ antibiotics in aquatic systems.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 43 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 18 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

water, ecological effects, biology, fluoroquinolone, antibiotics, exposure, stressor, environmental chemistry, aquatic, ecosystem, measurement methods, analytical., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Environmental Chemistry, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Health Risk Assessment, Fate & Transport, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecological Effects - Human Health, Ecological Risk Assessment, Ecology and Ecosystems, Drinking Water, ecological effects, fate, fate and transport, microbial contamination, monitoring, ecological exposure, human health effects, pharmaceuticals, stressors, antibacterial agents, antibiotics, exposure and effects, exposure, chemical contaminants, fluoroquinolone, microbial effects, microbial risk management, aquatic ecosystems, water quality, drinking water contaminants, other - risk management, toxicokinetics

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • 2005 Progress Report
  • Final Report