• Clotrimazole;
  • Fluconazole;
  • Persistence;
  • Availability;
  • Sludge


Applying sewage sludge to soil is a common practice in many parts of the world. Thus, pharmaceutical compounds, such as azoles, can be released into the environment after sludge is applied to soil. To understand the fate of clotrimazole and fluconazole (pharmaceuticals used as antifungals in humans) in soil after its amendment with sludge, a reliable and sensitive method has been developed to determine these compounds in the solid and aqueous phases of soil. Desorption of clotrimazole from soil amended with sludge was negligible, whereas a rapid desorption of fluconazole was observed. Dissipation rates of these azoles were determined in amended soil incubated at 25°C with moisture contents ranging from 4.5 to 20%. Clotrimazole was more persistent than fluconazole in dry soil, whereas the contrary occurred in wet soil. Partitioning soil:soil solution of these azoles varied with time and moisture contents. Clotrimazole was found in soil with negligible amounts in soil solution, whereas fluconazole was approximately partitioned 50:50 during the assay time (60 d) at any soil moisture content. Occasional rainfall coupled with a relatively low binding soil capacity can result in the contamination of surface and groundwaters by fluconazole, whereas clotrimazole will remain in the soil. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2012;31:501–507. © 2011 SETAC