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Environ Int. 2013 Oct;60:123-7. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2013.08.010. Epub 2013 Sep 13.

Ecotoxicity of artificial sweeteners and stevioside.

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  • 1Department of Sustainable Chemistry, University of Bremen, Leobener Str., UFT, 28359 Bremen, Germany; Department of Environmental Analysis, University of Gdańsk, Wita Stwosza 56, 80-308 Gdańsk, Poland. Electronic address:


Produced, consumed and globally released into the environment in considerable quantities, artificial sweeteners have been identified as emerging pollutants. Studies of environmental concentrations have confirmed the widespread distribution of acesulfame (ACE), cyclamate (CYC), saccharin (SAC) and sucralose (SUC) in the water cycle at levels that are among the highest known for anthropogenic trace pollutants. Their ecotoxicity, however, has yet to be investigated at a larger scale. The present study aimed to fill this knowledge gap by systematically assessing the influence of ACE, CYC and SAC and complementing the data on SUC. Therefore we examined their toxicity towards an activated sewage sludge community (30min) and applying tests with green algae Scenedesmus vacuolatus (24h), water fleas Daphnia magna (48h) and duckweed Lemna minor (7d). We also examined the effects caused by the natural sweetener stevioside. The high No Observed Effect Concentrations (NOECs) yielded by this initial evaluation indicated a low hazard and risk potential towards these aquatic organisms. For a complete risk assessment, however, several kinds of data are still lacking. In this context, obligatory ecotoxicity testing and stricter environmental regulations regarding food additives appear to be necessary.

© 2013.


Aquatic toxicity; Biological activity; Ecotoxicity; Emerging pollutants; Hazard assessment

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