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Environmental Fate of Chemicals of Emerging Concern: Implications to Ecosystem Services and Food Safety


Pharmaceuticals have been widely administered to humans, animals, and plants for disease control and health protection. Pharmaceuticals, along with several personal care products, have been considered as chemicals of emerging concern (CECs), and received increasing concern and public attention. CECs enter agricultural environments mainly via irrigation with treated wastewater and land application of biosolid. These bioactive chemicals have been widely detected in surface and ground waters and soils that pose threats to ecosystem health and risk to food safety. This project seeks to develop an improved understanding on how environmental chemistry of CECs in soils influences the bioavailability of antibiotics to promote the development of antibiotic resistance, and plant uptake of pharmaceuticals and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from soil and water. The specific objectives are (i) to elucidate the mechanism governing the uptake of pharmaceuticals by vegetables from water and soil, (ii) to determine the expression of antibiotic resistance genes of bacteria exposed to tetracycline in water and soil, and (iii) to evaluate the uptake and accumulation of PFAS in vegetables and grain crops from the soils amended with biosolid. The knowledge gained from this project on CECs in agricultural environments can facilitate the development of best management practice to mitigate their impact to soil ecosystems and the accumulation in agricultural produce. The information from this research will be disseminated in peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals, and as presentations at national and international professional conferences. In addition, graduate students and postdoctoral research associates will be tutored and trained for next generation of scientists during conducting the proposed research work.

Li, Hui
Michigan State University
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