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Aquat Toxicol. 2008 Nov 21;90(3):223-7. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2008.09.002. Epub 2008 Sep 11.

Effects of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin on the bacterial community structure and degradation of pyrene in marine sediment.

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  • 1Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.

Erratum in

  • Aquat Toxicol. 2009 Jan 18;91(1):100.


The ecological consequences of antibiotics in the aquatic environment have been an issue of concern over the past years due to the potential risk for negative effects on indigenous microorganisms. Microorganisms provide important ecosystem services, such as nutrient recycling, organic matter mineralization and degradation of pollutants. In this study, effects of exposure to the antibiotic ciprofloxacin on the bacterial diversity and pollutant degradation in natural marine sediments were studied using molecular methods (T-RFLP) in combination with radiorespirometry. In a microcosm experiment, sediment spiked with (14)C-labelled pyrene was exposed to five concentrations of ciprofloxacin (0, 20, 200, 1000 and 2000 microgL(-1)) in a single dose to the overlying water. The production of (14)CO(2) (i.e. complete mineralization of pyrene) was measured during 11 weeks. Sediment samples for bacterial community structure analysis were taken after 7 weeks. Results showed a significant dose-dependent inhibition of pyrene mineralization measured as the total (14)CO(2) production. The nominal EC(50) was calculated to 560 microgL(-1), corresponding to 0.4 microg/kg d.w. sediment. The lowest effect concentration on the bacterial community structure was 200 microgL(-1), which corresponds to 0.1 microg/kg d.w. sediment. Our results show that antibiotic pollution can be a potential threat to both bacterial diversity and an essential ecosystem service they perform in marine sediment.

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