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Bioaccumulation, Uptake, and Toxicity of Carbamazepine in Soil–Plant Systems

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JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
DateAccepted/In press - 28 Nov 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 29 Nov 2017
DatePublished (current) - 5 Feb 2018
Number of pages9
Early online date29/11/17
Original languageEnglish


Since the detection of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in various environmental media, research has explored
the potential uptake and toxicity of these chemicals to species inhabiting these matrices. Specifically, pharmaceuticals,
including the antiepileptic API carbamazepine (CBZ), are taken up from soil by a range of plants. Many short-term studies have
also suggested that certain APIs induce toxicity in plants. However, the effects of APIs on fruiting plants remain relatively
unexplored. The present study investigated the uptake, bioaccumulation, and toxicity of CBZ in Cucurbita pepo (zucchini) from
seed to full maturity across a range of CBZ exposure concentrations in soil (0.1–20 mg/kg). Results of biomass, chlorophyll,
starch and total nitrogen (N) concentration in C. pepo indicated toxicity at soil concentrations of 10 mg/kg. There were clear
visual indications of increasing toxicity on leaves, including chlorosis and necrosis, from soil concentrations of 1 up to 20 mg/kg.
The present study also revealed novel insights into the effect of CBZ accumulation on C. pepo fruiting: female C. pepo flowers
were unable to set fruit when leaf concentrations were 14 mg/kg. These findings may have implications for future agricultural
productivity in areas where reclaimed wastewater containing APIs is a source of irrigation. Detectable CBZ concentrations were
found in edible C. pepo fruit, indicating the possibility of trophic transfer

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