Interactions of tetracycline antibiotics with dissolved metal ions and metal oxides
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Recent studies have demonstrated the omnipresence of antibacterial agents in the aquatic environment due to high usage and widespread applications of these compounds in medicine and agriculture, raising concerns over proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and other adverse health effects. Tetracyclines (TCs) are among the most widely used antibiotics and their fate and transformation in the soil-water environment are not yet well understood. Based on TCs' strong tendency to interact with metals, their environmental fate and transport are expected to be greatly influenced by metal species commonly present in waters and soils and thus the focus of this study. The study results show that TCs are highly susceptible to oxidative transformation mediated by dissolved Mn(II) and Cu(II) ions and manganese dioxide under environmentally relevant conditions. The oxidative transformation can occur via different TC structural moieties and reaction pathways when different metal species are involved, leading to complicated product formation patterns. It was also found that Al oxide surfaces can promote the acid-catalyzed isomeration and dehydration of TCs. To better evaluate the surface reactions of Mn oxide with TCs and other compounds, a new kinetic model was successfully developed to describe the complex reaction kinetics based on the experimental results with TCs and three other classes of antibacterial agents. Overall, this work significantly advances the fundamental understanding of the reaction mechanisms of TC compounds and provides the knowledge basis for better risk assessment of these compounds in the environment.