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Fate of the antifungal drug clotrimazole in agricultural soil



Clotrimazole is a broad-spectrum antimycotic drug used for the treatment of dermatological and gynecological infections; it is incompletely broken down during sewage treatment and could potentially reach agricultural land through the application of municipal biosolids or wastewater. In the absence of any environmental fate data, we evaluated the persistence and dissipation pathways of 3H-clotrimazole during laboratory incubations of agricultural soils. Clotrimazole was removed from a loam (time to dissipate 50% = 68 d), a sandy loam (time to dissipate 50% = 36 d), and a clay loam (time to dissipate 50% = 55 d), with formation of nonextractable residues being the major sink for 3H. Their parent compound had no significant mineralization, as evidenced by the lack of formation of 3H2O. Up to 15% of the applied radioactivity was recovered in the form of [3H]-(2-chlorophenyl)diphenyl methanol. The rate of clotrimazole dissipation in the loam soil did not vary with moisture content, but it was slower at a lower temperature (number of days to dissipate 50% = 275.6 d at 4°C). Addition of municipal biosolids to the loam soil did not vary the clotrimazole dissipation rate. In summary, the present study has established that clotrimazole is dissipated in soil, at rates that varied with soil texture and temperature. Clotrimazole dissipation was accompanied by the formation of nonextractable residues and detectable extractable residues of the transformation product (2-chlorophenyl)diphenyl methanol. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011; 30:582–587. © 2010 SETAC