Influence of biosolids and sewage effluent application on sitagliptin soil sorption

Alexander Ccanccapa-Cartagena, Wei Zheng, Sarmila Katuwal, John W. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biosolids and sewage effluent application to agricultural fields is becoming a win-win practice as both an economical waste management strategy and a source of nutrients and organic matter for plant growth. However, these organic wastes contain a variety of trace chemicals of environmental concern such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), which may pose a risk to agricultural fields and ecosystems. This work aims to investigate the sorption of sitagliptin on four agricultural soils, evaluate the effects of biosolids and sewage effluent application, and elucidate the main sorption mechanism of the pharmaceutical on soils. The sorption study revealed that the sorption capacities of sitagliptin on different soils were positively related to the contents of soil organic matter and negatively associated with soil pH values. The application of biosolids and sewage effluent decreased the sorption capacity of sitagliptin, which may be attributed to the loading of dissolved organic matter derived from organic wastes. The Freundlich isotherm model demonstrated that the addition of biosolids from 0 to 100 % (W/W) consistently decreased the sorption affinity (K f) of sitagliptin from 1.69 × 10 2 to 3.82 × 10 1 mg (1-n) L n kg −1. Sewage application at 0, 10, 50, and 100 % (V/V) also reduced the K f values from 1.69 × 10 2 to 9.17 × 10 1 mg (1-n) L n kg −1. Attenuated Total Reflection (ATR)-Infrared (IR) spectroscopy analyses suggested that electrostatic interactions between carbonyl and amino groups of sitagliptin and the negatively charged soil surface are the main sorption mechanisms. In a co-solute system, the sorption affinity of sitagliptin on the soil decreased with increasing metformin concentrations, suggesting that competitive sorption may reduce the sorption capacity of individual contaminants in soil systems containing multiple PPCPs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number165080
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online dateJul 1 2023
StatePublished - Oct 15 2023


  • ISTC
  • Sitagliptin
  • Dissolved organic matter
  • Sewage application
  • Biosolid amendment
  • Sorption
  • Agricultural soils
  • Soils
  • Biosolids amendment
  • Rural sewage effluent
  • Pharmaceuticals and personal care products

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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