Metabolism of carbamazepine in plant roots and endophytic rhizobacteria isolated from Phragmites australis

Andrés Sauvêtre, Robert May, Rudolf Harpaintner, Charlotte Poschenrieder, Peter Schröder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Carbamazepine (CBZ) is a pharmaceutical frequently categorized as a recalcitrant pollutant in the aquatic environment. Endophytic bacteria previously isolated from reed plants have shown the ability to promote growth of their host and to contribute to CBZ metabolism. In this work, a horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) hairy root (HR) culture has been used as a plant model to study the interactions between roots and endophytic bacteria in response to CBZ exposure. HRs could remove up to 5% of the initial CBZ concentration when they were grown in spiked Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium. Higher removal rates were observed when HRs were inoculated with the endophytic bacteria Rhizobium radiobacter (21%) and Diaphorobacter nitroreducens (10%). Transformation products resulting from CBZ degradation were identified using liquid chromatography–ultra high-resolution quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry (LC-UHR-QTOF-MS). CBZ metabolism could be divided in four pathways. Metabolites involving GSH conjugation and 2,3-dihydroxylation, as well as acridine related compounds are described in plants for the first time. This study presents strong evidence that xenobiotic metabolism and degradation pathways in plants can be modulated by the interaction with their endophytic community. Hence it points to plausible applications for the elimination of recalcitrant compounds such as CBZ from wastewater in CWs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-95
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Acridine pathway
  • Endophytic bacteria
  • Glutathione conjugate
  • Hairy roots
  • Phytoremediation


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