Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 8, pp 8212–8225 | Cite as

Electrokinetic remediation of antibiotic-polluted soil with different concentrations of tetracyclines

  • Binxu Li
  • Zhiguo Zhang
  • Yanlin Ma
  • Yanling Li
  • Changxiong Zhu
  • Hongna LiEmail author
Research Article


This study investigated the efficacy of electrokinetic remediation of soils polluted with different concentrations of tetracyclines (TCs). Three widely used TCs (oxytetracycline, chlortetracycline, and tetracycline) were selected, and concentrations of 0, 5, 10, 20, and 50 mg/kg (C0, C5, C10, C20, C50) were selected for comparison. Antibiotic-polluted soils with no electric field served as controls. The average removal rates of TCs in different treatments ranged from 25 to 48% after 7-day remediation. The contributing ratios of electrokinetics to TCs removal varied from 22 to 84%. The concentrations of NH4+ increased in soils and electrolytes, which indicated the decomposition of TCs in the electric field. The highest removal amount of TCs was obtained in the C50 treatment, due to efficient reactions of TCs with oxidative radicals generated during the electrolysis. The fluctuant range of pH in the electrolytes was decreased with increasing concentration of TCs, while the soil pH was increased. The removal rate of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) in the C5 treatment was significantly higher than that in other treatments. The abundance of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) increased with the concentrations of TCs in soils. It might result from the induction of increasing selective pressure of antibiotics. Significant removal of ARGs occurred in the C50 treatment (38–60%). In terms of controlling ARB and ARGs, which were more resistant, the electrokinetic technology showed advantageous effects. Above all, electrokinetic technology provides an effective remediation method, especially for TC-polluted soil with a concentration of 20–50 mg/kg.


Electrokinetic treatment Antibiotic-resistant bacteria Antibiotic-resistant fungi Antibiotic-resistant actinomycetes Antibiotic resistance genes 



This research was funded by the Young Elite Scientist Sponsorship Program by CAST (YESS) (2018QNRC001) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Number 51308537).

Supplementary material

11356_2019_4294_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 17 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Binxu Li
    • 1
  • Zhiguo Zhang
    • 1
  • Yanlin Ma
    • 1
  • Yanling Li
    • 1
  • Changxiong Zhu
    • 1
  • Hongna Li
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in AgricultureChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesHaidian DistrictChina

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