Session 4: Analysis and Fate of Emerging Contaminants in Water, Soil and Plants

Organisers: Yolanda Picó1 and Damià Barceló2,3

1 Environmental and Food Safety Research Group (SAMA-UV), Desertification Research Centre CIDE (CSIC-UV-GV), Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Valencia, Burjassot, Valencia, Spain

2 Water and Soil Quality Research Group, Department of Environmental Chemistry, Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC), Jordi Girona 18–26, E-08034 Barcelona, Spain

3Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA), H2O Building, Scientific and Technological Park of the University of Girona, Emili Grahit 101, 17003 Girona, Spain


Occurrence of emerging contaminants (ECs) in the environment could be related to the rise of anthropic pressure on water resources together with changes in the Earth system (from climate to ecosystems) as well as to the actual practices to manage these situation, such as the use of wastewater for irrigation (arid regions) and application of biosolids on soils. Wastewater effluent disposal, sludges, biosolids and/or biochars are today’s main sources of non-regulated trace of ECs to the environment. These compounds include, but are not restricted to, the following: human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, personal care products (PCPs), artificial sweeteners, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), pesticides, PAH-derivatives, benzotriazoles, benzothiazoles, plasticizers, surfactants, disinfection by products and engineered nanomaterials (ENMs). The presence of these chemicals in the environment is more concerning considering that (i) they do not appear individually, but as a complex mixture, which could lead to unwanted synergistic effects and (ii) there is an extensive lack of knowledge on their distribution and accumulation from wastewater and sludge into soil and plant, as well as, on their hazards when applied to agricultural crops for food production. This situation is aggravated by global change and water scarcity, whose effects are unpredictable. In this context, the session emphasizes on ongoing studies on ECs sources and their incorporation, metabolization, accumulation and translocation into vegetables linking with the ecological effects they produce. Contributions on the following areas of new or expanding EC environmental impact knowledge will be welcome: i) wide screening of an extensive range of emerging contaminants including their transformation products and/or metabolites, ii) potential and shortcomings of high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) to identify metabolites and transformation products formed in the environment, iii) how their intrinsic properties, such as environmental persistence, resistance to metabolism in organisms, and tendency to accumulate could contribute to their ubiquity in environmental media and induce concern for their toxic effects after prolonged exposure, iv) progresses in understanding their transport, transformations, and fate in environment, and v) proposes of approaches to support the decision-making process related to risk-management measures. Summarizing, this session aims at focus on the most understudied areas of EC research in wastewaters and the environment and devised priorities for the future water scarcity scenario in a multi-disciplinary forum.

Format: Oral/poster