Effective Detection of Antibiotic Residues in Environmental Matrices Using Nanosorbents

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The development of antibiotics needs to constantly be evolving to counter bacterial resistance that can develop against these medications. Solid-phase extraction (SPE) can be used to combat this challenge.

A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology in Varanasi, India, have published a review article in the Journal of Chromatography A, that discusses the advancements in solid-phase extraction (SPE) techniques for enriching antibiotics for analytical quantification (1). Antibiotics, although designed to be effective, do not always render the positive results they are designed to do, and that is to treat specific illnesses. In fact, the study explains that antibiotics are contributing to the rising global mortality rates because of the development of bacterial resistance against these medications (1).

One of the primary causes of antibiotic resistance in bacteria is the presence of antibiotic residues in various environmental matrices. Even though antibiotics are present in diluted form in water and other matrices, continuous exposure of bacteria to these small amounts is enough for resistance to develop. Therefore, identifying these tiny concentrations of numerous antibiotics in various matrices is a critical step in controlling their disposal.

Solid-phase extraction (SPE), a popular and customizable extraction technology, was developed to meet this evolving challenge. It is a unique alternative technique that can be implemented either alone or in combination with other approaches at different stages because of the multitude of sorbent varieties and techniques. Initially, sorbents were used for extraction in their natural state. However, the basic sorbent has been modified over time with nanoparticles and multilayer sorbents, which have helped to achieve the desired extraction efficiencies.

Among the traditional extraction techniques, such as liquid–liquid extraction (LLE), protein precipitation, and salting out techniques, SPE with nanosorbents are most productive because they can be automated, selective, and can be integrated with other extraction techniques. The researchers emphasize that nanosorbents have proved to be very effective in detecting antibiotic residues in environmental matrices due to their unique properties.


This review provides a broad overview of advancements and developments in sorbents with a specific emphasis on the applications of SPE techniques used for antibiotic detection and quantification in various matrices in the last two decades. The researchers hope that this review will help to further advance the field of solid-phase extraction and provide researchers with new insights and ideas for future research.

In summary, the researchers emphasize the importance of developing effective techniques for detecting and quantifying antibiotics in environmental matrices. Using nanosorbents in SPE techniques has proved to be a promising solution to this challenge. The researchers hope that their review will encourage further research in this field and contribute to the development of more effective techniques for the detection and quantification of antibiotics in environmental matrices.


(1) Suseela, M. N. L.; Viswanadh, M. K.; Mehata, A. K.; Priya, V.; Vikas; Setia, A.; Malik, A. K.; Gokul, P.; Selvin, J.; Muthu, M. S. Advances in solid-phase extraction techniques: Role of nanosorbents for the enrichment of antibiotics for analytical quantification. J. Chromatogr. A. 2023, 1695, 463937. DOI: 10.1016/j.chroma.2023.463937