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Chemosphere. 2012 Jan;86(1):50-5. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.08.049. Epub 2011 Sep 28.

Sucralose - an ecotoxicological challenger?

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Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM) Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.


The non-calorie sweetener sucralose - sucrose containing three chlorine atoms - is intensively sweet and has become a popular substitute for sugar. Its widespread use, exceptional stability in combination with high water solubility have thus resulted in contamination of recipient waters. Earlier studies on sucralose in aquatic organisms indicate low bioaccumulation potential and negligible acute/chronic toxicity, but the close structural resemblance with sucrose in combination with the importance of sugar in nature, warrant a more detailed ecotoxicological assessment. The aim of this investigation was therefore to study behavioural and physiological effects of sucralose in crustaceans. Our results show that both physiology and locomotion behaviour were affected by exposure to sucralose. In Daphnia magna, the behavioural response was manifested as altered swimming height and increased swimming speed, whereas in gammarids the time to reach food and shelter was prolonged. Regardless if these behavioural responses were initiated via traditional toxic mechanisms or stimulatory effects, they should be considered as a warning, since exposed organisms may diverge from normal behaviour, which ultimately can have ecological consequences.

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