Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 32, pp 32081–32087 | Cite as

Investigation of antibiotics in sea cucumbers: occurrence, pollution characteristics, and human risk assessment

  • Minghua Zhu
  • Hongxia ZhaoEmail author
  • Jingwen ChenEmail author
  • Huaijun Xie
  • Juan Du
Research Article


Occurrence and distribution of 24 antibiotics from 7 categories were screened in sea cucumbers (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea) collected from different coastal regions of China. The samples were simultaneously extracted and purified using accelerated solvent extraction with in-cell clean-up and analyzed by ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. A total of ten antibiotics were detected in the sea cucumbers with concentrations ranging from not detected to 32.8 μg/kg (dry weight). Sulfonamides are predominant antibiotics with a mean concentration of 11.5 μg/kg (dry weight), followed by macrolides (11.3 μg/kg, dry weight) and fluoroquinolones (11.2 μg/kg, dry weight). High concentrations of the antibiotics were found in the samples from the South China Sea, implying that the antibiotic pollution in sea cucumbers was geographical region-dependent, which was further confirmed by principal component analysis. It was also found that the antibiotic levels are slightly higher in instant sea cucumbers than in the dried ones. Hazard quotient calculation suggested no obvious human health risks associated with the consumption of sea cucumbers regarding antibiotics.


Sulfonamides Macrolides Fluoroquinolones Sea cucumber Occurrence Risk assessment 



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21661142001).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3131_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3.3 mb)
ESM 1 See Supplementary Material for 1) Parameters of the optimized UPLC-MS/MS method; 2) Recovery and RSD of target compounds; 3) Profiles of the detected antibiotics; 4) Sampling locations; 5) Chromatogram of detected antibiotics. (DOCX 3364 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Industrial Ecology and Environmental Engineering (MOE), School of Environmental Science and TechnologyDalian University of TechnologyDalianChina

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