Popova is an assistant professor in the Department of Soil Science at UW–Madison. Her research focuses on the fate and biological effects of natural and synthetic organic compounds in soil ecosystems.
To treat and prevent diseases in cows, veterinary antibiotics are routinely used in dairy operation. Unfortunately, antibiotics are only partially metabolized and can be unintentionally released onto agricultural lands during manure spreading. The presence of antibiotics in soil can contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance that cause more than 48,000 deaths in the U.S. annually. The presence of other contaminants in soils such as heavy metals can exaggerate the problem. To remove antibiotics and antibiotics associated with heavy metals from agricultural soils, we propose to use novel amidoxime carboxylate (AO/CO) fibers that have a capacity for removal of positively and negatively charged compounds from water and soils. Proposed AO/CO fibers are produced using commercial acrylic yarn making them economically feasible and potentially adaptable at different scales. The goal of this proposal is to evaluate AO/CO fibers for removal of copper and antibiotic copper complexes from agricultural soils. Tetracycline, sulfamethazine, and ciprofloxacin as representative from different antibiotic groups will be used in the study. As an outcome of this project, we anticipate having a solid understanding of the potential and limitation of AO/CO fiber use in soil for antibiotics and heavy metals removal. With the obtained information, the proposed technology will be further developed and optimized for potential on-farm use.