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The presence of veterinary and human antibiotics in soil and surface water is an emerging environmental concern. The current study was aimed at evaluating the potential of using vetiver grass as a phytoremediation agent in removing Tetracycline (TC) from aqueous media. The study determined uptake, translocation, and transformation of TC in vetiver grass as function of initial antibiotic concentrations and exposure time. Vetiver plants were grown for 60 days in a greenhouse in TC contaminated hydroponic system. Preliminary results show that complete removal of tetracycline occurred within 40 days in all TC treatments. Initial concentrations of TC had significant effect (p < 0.0001) on the kinetics of removal. Tetracycline was detected in the root as well as shoot tissues, confirming uptake and root-to-shoot translocation. Liquid-chromatography-tandem-mass-spectrometry analysis of plant tissue samples suggest presence of metabolites of TC in both root and shoot tissues of vetiver grass. The current data is encouraging and is expected to aid in developing a cost-effective, in-situ phytoremediation technique to remove TC group of antibiotics from wastewater.
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Keywords: antibiotics; phytoremediation; tetracycline; vetiver grass

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Sciences,Michigan Technological University, Houghton,Michigan, USA 2: Department of Earth and Environmental Studies,Montclair State University, Upper Montclair,New Jersey, USA 3: New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics,Kean University, Union,New Jersey, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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