EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Sulfamethoxazole mobility and risk of contamination of water resources at the catchment scale (Katari - Titicaca Lake, Bolivia)

Denisse Archundia Peralta1,2,3, Céline Duwig3, Lorenzo Spadini3, Marie-Christine Morel3,4, Blanca Prado1, Vladimir Orsac5, and Jean M.F. Martins3
Denisse Archundia Peralta et al.
  • 1Instituto de Geología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Coyoacán, Ciudad de México, México (
  • 2Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT), México, D.F.
  • 3Univ. Grenoble Alpes, IRD, CNRS, IGE (UMR5001), Grenoble, France
  • 4CNAM, Laboratoire d’analyses chimiques et bioanalyses, Paris Cedex 3, France
  • 5Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Facultad de Agronomía, La Paz, Bolivia

Sulfamethoxazole (SMX) is one of the antibiotics most commonly detected in aquatic and terrestrial environments and is still widely used, especially in low income countries. The Katari watershed encompassing the biggest city in the Altiplano and having its outlet in the Titicaca lake was studied:  ten soils having contrasting properties were collected throughout the watershed. SMX displacement experiments were carried out in repacked soil columns to explore SMX reactive transfer and to assess the contamination risk of water resources in the Bolivian Altiplano. Relevant sorption processes were identified by inverse modelling of experimental breakthrough curves. Different processes were identified depending on the soil type:  irreversible sorption, instantaneous and rate-limited reversible sorption. SMX mobility was lower in soils located upstream of the watershed (organic and acidic soils - Regosol) and was related with a higher adsorption capacity compared to the soils located downstream (lower organic carbon content - Cambisol). SMX was be classified as a moderately to highly mobile compound in the studied watershed, linked to soil properties such as pH, OC and soil texture. Sulfamethoxazole can potentially threaten the quality of surface and groundwater pollution in the lower part of the studied catchment, threatening Lake Titicaca water quality.

How to cite: Archundia Peralta, D., Duwig, C., Spadini, L., Morel, M.-C., Prado, B., Orsac, V., and Martins, J. M. F.: Sulfamethoxazole mobility and risk of contamination of water resources at the catchment scale (Katari - Titicaca Lake, Bolivia), EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-22128,, 2020


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displays version 1 – uploaded on 08 May 2020
  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-22128, Stefan Reichenberger, 08 May 2020

    So the city of El Alto drains into Lake Titicaca? Does El Alto have wastewater treatment plants? How well is SMX degraded in WWTP?
    Has the development of antibiotic resistance been observed in Bolivia?

    • AC1: Reply to CC1, CELINE DUWIG, 08 May 2020

      Dear Stefan, Yes the city of El Alto drains into the Lake Titicaca. It is the largest city in the Altiplano. There is actually one waste water treatment plant, but it is really treating only half of the sewage, the other half ends up in rivers or in septic tanks => groundwater. There is a big project (BID, AFD) to build new ones at the moment.

      Yes, there have been studies on antibiotic resistance, by us:

      Archundia D., Duwig C., Lehembre F., Chiron S., Morel M-C., Prado B., Bourdat-Deschamps M., Vince E., Flores Aviles G., Martins J.M.F., 2017. Antibiotic pollution in the Katari subcatchment of the Titicaca Lake: major transformation products and occurrence of resistance genes. Science of the Total Environment, 576, 671–682.

      and by bolivian colleagues:

      Thanks for the questions, don't hesitate

    • AC2: Reply to CC1, Denisse archundia peralta, 08 May 2020


      yes it drains into the titicaca lake. Only one WWTP exist in the studied basin.  The observed efficiency of SMX removal in the WWTP was of about 70%. Bacterial resistance to SMX exists in the basin and appears to be correlated to wastewater pollution (sul resistance genes dispersed by waste waters) more than with a developpement by the exposure of native bacterial comunities to the antibiotic. All this information is available in our manuscript: Archundia, D., Duwig, C., Lehembre, F., Chiron, S., Morel, M.-C., Prado, B., Bourdat-Deschamps, M., Vince, E., Aviles, G.F., Martins, J.M.F., 2017a. Antibiotic pollution inthe Katari subcatchment of the Titicaca Lake: major transformation products and occurrence of resistance genes. Sci. Total Environ. 576:671–682.
      10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.10.129. Kind regards. DENISSE ARCHUNDIA PERALTA