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NEW PUBLICATION - Emission estimation and prioritization of veterinary pharmaceuticals in manure slurries applied to soil

For 17 VPs of potential concern in the Netherlands, we assessed sources and emission due to animal slurry applications to soil. Hence, we examined the use of VPs in four livestock sectors in the Netherlands for 2015–2018, and quantified animal excretion rates and dissipation during slurry storage. For almost all VPs, administrated quantities to the animals during the period 2015–2018 decreased. VP concentrations during a storage period of six months could decrease between 10 and 98% depending on the compound. Predicted concentrations of VPs in slurries after storage compared well with measured concentrations in the literature. Based on the storage model outcomes, we developed a residue indicator, that quantifies the potential for residues in applied slurry. This indicator agrees well with the most frequently detected VPs in the Dutch slurries, and is therefore useful to prioritize measures aiming at reducing VP emissions into the environment.

Full article is available on

routineda - identifying pollutants in effluent

The antibiotics assay that was developed within the RoutinEDA project is currently being used to identify antimicrobial substances in effluent. We want to know the identity of these compounds, as they may be of concern to environmental and human health. Effluent samples (water discharged by sewage treatment plants (WWTPs)) from the E-PRTR sampling campaign are used in the current study. E-PRTR is an abbreviation for 'European Pollutant Transfer Register', a European regulation stating that sewage treatment plants should report on emissions.

We are screening the effluent of six WWTPs, sampled at two different time points. Using a technique called effect-directed analysis (EDA), which combines chemical and biological measurements, we aim to identify antimicrobials with a response in the bioassay. In addition to antimicrobial activity, we are applying the GR-CALUX bioassay for the identification of glucocorticoids. This is done in collaboration with Het Waterlaboratorium, a member of the RoutinEDA user committee.

Enriched water samples are fractionated with liquid chromatography and a fraction collecting apparatus (the FractioMateTM device). The resulting fractions are collected in well plates, on which the bioassays are applied. Samples are also measured on a high-resolution mass spectrometer. The fractions with bioactivity are used to guide identification efforts in the mass spectrometry data by applying suspect- and nontarget screening techniques.


Figure 1. The antibiotics bioassay response, where bacterial growth is plotted against (fractionation) time. Some fractions show antimicrobial activity. 


Figure 2. The FractioMateTM device (left) is used to fractionate the samples eluting from the LC-column (right). A QTOF (middle), a high-resolution mass spectrometer, is used to detect the thousands of accurate masses.


CER-CEC: From toilet to river

Efforts of three NWO-TTW projects on chemicals of emerging concern were combined and led to the publication of an H2O article. Lara Schuijt (WUR), Caterina Zillien and Tamara van Bergen (RU) present a framework for micropollutants (“from toilet to river”) and elaborate on this with a case study of fluoxetine in Nijmegen.

The article describes which insights and results the combined projects are expected to deliver. From the preliminary case study, they conclude that the quality of input data is of crucial importance in order to make valuable emission estimates and to do an acceptable risk assessment. As researchers, we are always looking for more data! So if you can help us with relevant datasets, please contact us (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

The article is in Dutch and you can find it here:


Bergen Figuur2

SUSPECt: Start Sampling Campaign urban case

On Thursday 19 September, the fieldwork for the urban case of the SUSPECt project started. At four locations throughout Nijmegen we placed small sponges (passive samplers) in the sewer to assess the CEC composition of different wastewater types (domestic, industrial, surface run-off). These sponges remain in the underworld for one to 6 weeks until we retrieve them again and take them to the laboratory for further analysis. We expect to obtain the first results in November.

The start of the sampling campaign was covered by the media including OmroepGelderland and Radboud University’s magazine VOX.

Preparing the sponges before placement. Photo: Dick van Aalst.


Media attention during fieldwork. Photo: Dick van Aalst.


routineda: Development of an antibiotics screening assay – the sampling of hospital water

As part of the RoutinEDA project and as an expansion of the current Effect-directed Analysis platform, we are developing a bioassay that detects the presence of antibiotics in environmental matrices such as water and soil. Bacteria that have been made increasingly susceptible to antibiotics are exposed to concentrated environmental extracts. The inhibition of bacterial growth may indicate the presence of antibiotic-like compounds in the samples.   

In the first week of February 2019, we collected effluent water directly from a hospital in Arnhem. We will screen for antibiotics in the extracts that will be prepared from the samples, using the developed bioassay.

We thank Arnhem municipality for providing the opportunity to sample.


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