Development and comparison of four methods for the extraction of antibiotics from a vegetative matrix

J. Brett Sallach, Daniel D Snow, Laurie Hodges, Xu Li, Shannon L Bartelt-Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Studies have shown the potential for antibiotic uptake into food crops from irrigation water and soils containing pharmaceuticals. The objective of the present study was to develop and compare methods quantifying uptake of antibiotics in food crops. Four methods were evaluated: freeze-and-thaw cell lysing, mechanical maceration, tissue sonication, and microwave-assisted solvent extraction. Four antibiotics (ciprofloxacin, lincomycin, oxytetracycline, and sulfamethoxazole) were tested representing 4 classes of antibiotics. The methods were evaluated based on method detection limits, analyte recoveries, and sample preparation time. The 2 most viable methods, freeze-and-thaw lysing and mechanical maceration, were used on replicate lettuce (Lactuca sativa) samples grown using irrigation water spiked with 3 of the antibiotic contaminants. Only lincomycin and sulfamethoxazole were detected in lettuce samples at concentrations as high as 1757ng/g and 425ng/g, with detection limits of 57ng/g and 35ng/g, respectively. Freeze-and-thaw cell lysing provided the highest level of extraction efficiency on environmental samples and required the least amount of sample preparation while providing adequate detection limits and reproducible analyte recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)889-897
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Antimicrobial
  • Extraction
  • Fate and transport
  • Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)
  • Plant uptake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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