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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2002 Aug;59(4-5):488-92. Epub 2002 Jun 25.

Inhibition of lotic biofilms by Diclofenac.

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  • 1Department of Inland Water Research Magdeburg, UFZ Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle, Brueckstrasse 3A, 39114 Magdeburg, Germany.


Diclofenac, a common drug, was subjected to degradation studies using river biofilms grown in rotating annular reactors. Degradation of diclofenac was possible after acclimatisation as confirmed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses. Adapted biofilms showed that degradation down to 10-25% of the initial concentration could be achieved within 4 days. In situ observation by confocal laser scanning microscopy, however, revealed slow biofilm development in the presence of diclofenac compared with control experiments grown in river water only. This was substantiated by low cell counts and isolation of fewer kinds of microorganisms from diclofenac-grown biofilms. Fluorescent in situ hybridisation analyses confirmed the presence of various bacterial groups, especially those belonging to the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium and gamma-Proteobacteria groups, in the biofilms. Quantification of image data indicated a negative effect of diclofenac on the growth of bacteria and algae. This is the first report on degradation of diclofenac by lotic biofilms.

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