Sulfonamide Antibiotics in Natural and Treated Waters: Environmental and Human Health Risks

  • María Jesús García GalánEmail author
  • M. Silvia Díaz-Cruz
  • Damià Barceló
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 20)


Concern regarding the environmental presence of sulfonamides and other species of antibiotics has focused mainly on the potential spread of antimicrobial resistance. However, their biological activity and high resistance to biodegradation may lead to long residence times in both water and soil matrices. Treated waters represent one of the main entrance pathways of these antimicrobials into the environment, and their potential impact in the aquatic ecosystems should be fully understood and investigated. Long-term ecological risks and unpredicted effects can result from unintentional exposure of different organisms and even human health could be negatively affected. This chapter aims to review the current knowlegde regarding sulfonamides ecotoxicity and to highlight the need for further data on the fate and ecotoxicity fo this family of antibiotics.


Bacterial resistance Environmental risk assessment Soil Sulfonamide Surface waters Toxicity 



This work has been funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation through the projects CEMAGUA (CGL2007-64551/HID) and SCARCE (Consolider Ingenio 2010 CSD2009-00065). MJ García acknowledges AGAUR (Generalitat de Catalunya, Spain) for economic support through an FI predoctoral grant.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • María Jesús García Galán
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Silvia Díaz-Cruz
    • 1
  • Damià Barceló
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Environmental ChemistryIDAEA-CSICBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA)Parc Científic i Tecnològic de la Universitat de GironaGironaSpain
  3. 3.King Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia

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