Abstract Title:

Uptake of human pharmaceuticals by plants grown under hydroponic conditions.

Abstract Source:

Chemosphere. 2010 Mar;78(11):1416-21. Epub 2010 Jan 22. PMID: 20096438

Abstract Author(s):

Patrick A Herklotz, Prakash Gurung, Brian Vanden Heuvel, Chad A Kinney

Article Affiliation:

Colorado State University-Pueblo, Biology Department, 2200 Bonforte Blvd., Pueblo, CO 81001, USA.


Cabbage (Brassica rapa var. pekinensis) and Wisconsin Fast Plants (Brassica rapa) were chosen for a proof of concept study to determine the potential uptake and accumulation of human pharmaceuticals by plants. These plants were grown hydroponically under high-pressure sodium lamps in one of two groups including a control and test group exposed to pharmaceuticals. The control plants were irrigated with a recirculating Hoagland's nutrient solution while the test plants were irrigated with a Hoagland's nutrient solution fortified with the pharmaceuticals carbamazepine, salbutamol, sulfamethoxazole, and trimethoprim at 232.5 microg L(-1). When plants reached maturity, nine entire plants of each species were separated into components such as roots, leaves, stems, and seedpods where applicable. An analytical method for quantifying pharmaceuticals and personal care products was developed using pressurized liquid extraction and liquid chromatography electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (LC/ESI/MS) in positive and negative ion modes using single ion monitoring. The method detection limits ranged from 3.13 ng g(-1) to 29.78 ng g(-1) with recoveries ranging from 66.83% to 113.62% from plant matrices. All four of the pharmaceuticals were detected in the roots and leaves of the cabbage. The maximum wet weight concentrations of the pharmaceuticals were detected in the root structure of the cabbage plants at 98.87 ng g(-1) carbamazepine, 114.72 ng g(-1) salbutamol, 138.26 ng g(-1) sulfamethoxazole, and 91.33 ng g(-1) trimethoprim. Carbamazepine and salbutamol were detected in the seedpods of the Wisconsin Fast Plants while all four of the pharmaceuticals were detected in the leaf/stem/root of the Wisconsin Fast Plants. Phloroglucinol staining of root cross-sections was used to verify the existence of an intact endodermis, suggesting that pharmaceuticals found in the leaf and seedpods of the plants were transported symplastically.

Study Type : In Vitro Study
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