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At least seven kinds of antibiotics are at high concentrations in both lake water and lake sediment globally, and quinolones in water of Chinese lakes are higher than other lakes worldwide, a recent study by Chinese scientists found.

The study, carried out by researchers from the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography (XIEG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and their collaborators, showed a comprehensive review of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in lakes around the world.

“Our meta-analysis shows that sulfamethoxazole, sulfamerazine, sulfameter, tetracycline, oxytetracycline, erythromycin, and roxithromycin were found at high concentrations in both lake water and lake sediment,” said SONG Wenjuan, a researcher from XIEG who led the study.

Chemical pollutants, physicochemical characteristics of the water body and sediment, aquatic biota, as well as human activities are identified as the important factors that affect the distribution of antibiotics and ARGs in lakes, the study found.

Harboring nearly 90 per cent of world’s liquid surface fresh water, lakes play a key role in global ecology system, not to mention in human life. “Long retention times in lakes mean pollutants from discharges slowly circulate around the lakes and may lead to high ecological risk for ecosystem and human health,” said SONG.

The study was published on Environment International entitled “Antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes in global lakes: A review and meta-analysis”.

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