The Llobregat pp 167-192 | Cite as

Occurrence and Fate of Sulfonamide Antibiotics in Surface Waters: Climatic Effects on Their Presence in the Mediterranean Region and Aquatic Ecosystem Vulnerability

  • María Jesús García-GalánEmail author
  • M. Silvia Díaz-Cruz
  • Damià Barceló
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 21)


Surface water bodies are constantly exposed to pollutant inputs of different origin. Wastewater effluents discharge directly on the receiving natural streams, and are among the main entrance pathways for sulfonamides. Strong contrast between seasons, with the consequent fluctuations in the flow rates, and heavy contamination pressures from extensive urban, industrial, and agricultural activities are characteristics of water courses located in the Mediterranean area. The low base flows of Mediterranean rivers makes their hydrology cycle heavily dependent on wastewater inputs, and therefore removal efficiencies of wastewater treatment plants are key to the health of the aquatic ecosystem.


Environmental risk assessment Mediterranean region Removal efficiency Sulfonamide Surface waters Wastewater treatment plant 





Antibiotic resistance genes


Confined animal-feeding operation


Conventional activated sludge


Median effective concentration


European medicine agency


Environmental risk assessment


European Union


European federation of animal health


Hazard quotient


Median letal concentration


Membrane bioreactor


Measured environmental concentration


Non observed effect concentration


Predicted environmental concentration




Predicted no-effect concentration


Removal efficiency




















United States


Water frame directive


World Health Organization


Wastewater treatment plant



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 pre-doctoral grant.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 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 Res (ICRA)Parc Científic i Tecnològic de la Universitat de GironaGironaSpain
  3. 3.King Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia

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