Journal of Hazardous Materials ( IF 9.038 ) Pub Date : 2020-09-15 , DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.123974 Min Qiu; Ailun Hu; Yu-ming M. Huang; Yun Zhao; Yan He; Jianming Xu; Zhijiang Lu
Antibiotics in soil environments are a growing concern. Identifying transformation products is key to elucidating degradation pathways and mechanisms of antibiotics and other organic micropollutants. The primary challenge of transformation product identification is the interference of matrices. In this study, stable-isotope assisted nontarget screening was used to identify biodegradation products of florfenicol in soil. A total of 74 candidates were prioritized from thousands of mass features observed by a tiered peak filtering approach. Moreover, with the support of in silico prediction tools, the structures of 12 transformation products were elucidated, and 9 of them were reported for the first time. A biodegradation map of florfenicol consisting of amide hydrolysis, dechlorination, dehydration, defluorination, and sulfone reduction were established based on these identified products. A total of 8 products were also found in 6 field soil samples with manure application. Because of the structural similarity to florfenicol, some transformation products might still keep antimicrobial activity toward a variety of bacterial species. The strategies demonstrated in this study provide a basis for efficient identification of transformation products of other organic micropollutants in a variety of environmental matrices. The results also shed light on the degradation mechanisms, risk assessments, and regulations of these compounds.