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Chemosphere. 2005 Oct;61(2):200-7. Epub 2005 Apr 9.

Effects of pharmaceuticals on Daphnia survival, growth, and reproduction.

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Department of Zoology, 430 Lincoln Drive, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


Pharmaceuticals have been globally detected in surface waters, and the ecological impacts of these biologically-active, ubiquitous chemicals are largely unknown. To evaluate the aquatic toxicity of individual pharmaceuticals and mixtures, we performed single species laboratory toxicity tests with Daphnia magna, a common freshwater zooplankton. We conducted acute (6-day) and chronic (30-day) exposure pharmaceutical bioassays and evaluated survivorship and morphology of adults and neonates, adult length, resting egg production, brood size (fecundity), and the proportion of male broods produced (sex ratio). In general, exposure to a single pharmaceutical in the 1-100 microg/l range yielded no apparent effects on the normal life processes of Daphnia. However, chronic fluoxetine exposure (36 microg/l) significantly increased Daphnia fecundity, and acute clofibric acid exposure (10 microg/l) significantly increased sex ratio. A mixture of fluoxetine (36 microg/l) and clofibric acid (100 microg/l) caused significant mortality; the same fluoxetine concentration mixed with 10 microg/l clofibric acid resulted in significant deformities, including malformed carapaces and swimming setae. Mixtures of three to five antibiotics (total antibiotic concentration 30-500 microg/l) elicited changes in Daphnia sex ratio. We conclude: (1) individual and mixtures of pharmaceuticals affect normal development and reproduction of Daphnia magna, (2) aquatic toxicity of pharmaceutical mixtures can be unpredictable and complex compared to individual pharmaceutical effects, and (3) timing and duration of pharmaceutical exposure influence aquatic toxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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