Uptake and metabolism of the antidepressants sertraline, clomipramine, and trazodone in a garden cress ( Lepidium sativum ) model

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  • Published: Mar 8, 2018
  • Author: Bernd Reichl, Markus Himmelsbach, Lisa Emhofer, Christian W. Klampfl, Wolfgang Buchberger


Environmental contamination with pharmaceuticals has received growing attention in recent years. Several studies describe the presence of traces of drugs in water bodies and soils and their impacts on nontarget organisms including plants. Due to these facts investigations of the uptake and metabolism of pharmaceuticals in organisms is an emerging research area. The present study demonstrates the analysis of three selected antidepressants (sertraline, clomipramine, and trazodone) as well as metabolites and transformation products in a cress model (Lepidium sativum). Cress was treated with tap water containing 10 mg/L of the parent drugs. Employing an analytical approach based on high performance liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole time of flight or Orbitrap mass spectrometry in MS and MS² modes, in total 14 substances were identified in the cress extracts. All three parent drugs were taken up by the cress and translocated from the roots to the leaves in specific patterns. In addition to this, eleven metabolite species were identified. They were generated by hydroxylation, demethylation, conjugation with amino acids, or combinations of these mechanisms. Finally, the inclusion of control cultures in the experimental setup allowed for a differentiation of “true” metabolites generated by the cress and transformation products generated by plant‐independent mechanisms.

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