A systematic approach to assess the fate of selected pharmaceuticals (carbamazepine, naproxen, diclofenac, clofibric acid
and caffeine) in wetland mesocosms was described. The overall objective of this study was to determine the kinetics of
removal and depletion of selected pharmaceuticals in mesocosms planted with
growing hydroponically. The five
pharmaceuticals tested including carbamazepine, naproxen, diclofenac, clofibric acid and caffeine were selected on the basis
of their high occurrence in surface waters and their wide range of physicochemical properties (e.g., log K
). The fate, removal
mechanisms (i.e., photodegradation, biodegradation and plant uptake) and potential for translocation of these pharmaceuticals
from the roots to the shoots was assessed using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Additionally, suitable dark
controls were analyzed to determine the quantitative role that photodegradation plays on pharmaceutical elimination. After 21
days of incubation, nearly all of the caffeine, naproxen and diclofenac were eliminated from solution, whereas carbamazepine and
clofibric acid were recalcitrant to both photodegradation and biodegradation. Naproxen was sensitive to both photodegradation
(30-42%) and biodegradation (>50%), while diclofenac was particularly sensitive (>70%) to photodegradation alone.
Dongqing Zhang obtained her Master Degree at Magdeburg University (Germany) in 2005. Thereafter she completed PhD at the Dortmund University of Technology, Germany. She joined Nanyang Technological University in 2008 and is currently serving as Senior Research Fellow at Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute, School of Civil Environmental Engineering. She has published more than 20 papers in reputed peer-reviewed journals, and Project Manager in numerous projects collaborated with local environmental agencies (Public Utility Board and National Park, Singapore).
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