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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 18, 2023
  2. Abstract Land application of treated sewage sludge (also known as biosolids) is considered a sustainable route of disposal because it reduces waste loading into landfills while improving soil health. However, this waste management practice can introduce contaminants from biosolids, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), into the environment. PFAS have been observed to be taken up by plants, accumulate in humans and animals, and have been linked to various negative health effects. There is limited information on the nature and amounts of PFAS introduced from biosolids that have undergone different treatment processes. Therefore, this study developed analytical techniques to improve the characterization of PFAS in complex biosolid samples. Different clean-up techniques were evaluated and applied to waste-activated sludge (WAS) and lime-stabilized primary solids (PS) prior to targeted analysis and suspect screening of biosolid samples. Using liquid chromatography with high-resolution mass spectrometry, a workflow was developed to achieve parallel quantitative targeted analysis and qualitative suspect screening. This study found that concentrations of individual PFAS (27 targeted analytes) can range from 0.6 to 84.6 ng/g in WAS (average total PFAS = 241.4 ng/g) and from 1.6 to 33.8 ng/g in PS (average total PFAS = 72.1 ng/g). The suspect screening workflow identified seven additional PFAS in the biosolid samples,more »five of which have not been previously reported in environmental samples. Some of the newly identified compounds are a short-chain polyfluorinated carboxylate (a PFOS replacement), a diphosphate ester (a PFOA precursor), a possible transformation product of carboxylate PFAS, and an imidohydrazide which contains a sulfonate and benzene ring.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 18, 2023
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 15, 2023
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2022
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2022
  7. Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) can enter agricultural fields through wastewater irrigation, biosolid amendments, or urine fertilization. Numerous studies have assessed the risk of PPCP contamination, however there are no standardized methodologies for sample treatment, making the interpretation of results challenging. Various time periods between sampling and analysis have been reported (shipping, storage, etc. ), but literature is lacking in the evaluation of PPCP degradation amidst this process. This study assessed the stability of 20 pharmaceuticals (200 μg L −1 ) in soil and crops stored at −40 °C for 7, 30, and 310 days. After 310 days, caffeine, meprobamate, trimethoprim, primidone, carbamazepine, anhydro-erythromycin and dilantin were found to be stable (≥75% recovery) in all matrices. On the other hand, acetaminophen, amitriptyline, bupropion, lamotrigine, sulfamethoxazole, naproxen, ibuprofen, and paroxetine were unstable after 30 days in at least one of the matrices investigated. Due to variations in analyte stability, fortification with isotopically-labelled surrogates at the point of sample collection was evaluated in comparison to fortification after shipment and storage, immediately prior to extraction. Chromatographic peak areas of stable analytes were found to be reproducible (±15%) in field-fortified samples, indicating that no additional error occurred during sample handling under field conditionsmore »despite having a less controlled environment. Unstable analytes revealed notable differences in peak areas between fortification times, suggesting that fortification immediately after sample collection is crucial to account for analyte losses during shipping and storage, resulting in accurate quantification of PPCPs.« less
  8. Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) receive a confluence of sewage containing antimicrobials, antibiotic resistant bacteria, antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), and pathogens and thus are a key point of interest for antibiotic resistance surveillance. WWTP monitoring has the potential to inform with respect to the antibiotic resistance status of the community served as well as the potential for ARGs to escape treatment. However, there is lack of agreement regarding suitable sampling frequencies and monitoring targets to facilitate comparison within and among individual WWTPs. The objective of this study was to comprehensively evaluate patterns in metagenomic-derived indicators of antibiotic resistance through various stages of treatment at a conventional WWTP for the purpose of informing local monitoring approaches that are also informative for global comparison. Relative abundance of total ARGs decreased by ∼50% from the influent to the effluent, with each sampling location defined by a unique resistome (i.e., total ARG) composition. However, 90% of the ARGs found in the effluent were also detected in the influent, while the effluent ARG-pathogen taxonomic linkage patterns identified in assembled metagenomes were more similar to patterns in regional clinical surveillance data than the patterns identified in the influent. Analysis of core and discriminatory resistomes and general ARGmore »trends across the eight sampling events (i.e., tendency to be removed, increase, decrease, or be found in the effluent only), along with quantification of ARGs of clinical concern, aided in identifying candidate ARGs for surveillance. Relative resistome risk characterization further provided a comprehensive metric for predicting the relative mobility of ARGs and likelihood of being carried in pathogens and can help to prioritize where to focus future monitoring and mitigation. Most antibiotics that were subject to regional resistance testing were also found in the WWTP, with the total antibiotic load decreasing by ∼40–50%, but no strong correlations were found between antibiotics and corresponding ARGs. Overall, this study provides insight into how metagenomic data can be collected and analyzed for surveillance of antibiotic resistance at WWTPs, suggesting that effluent is a beneficial monitoring point with relevance both to the local clinical condition and for assessing efficacy of wastewater treatment in reducing risk of disseminating antibiotic resistance.« less