Phytoplankton toxicity of the antibiotic chlortetracycline and its UV light degradation products.

Chemosphere

PubMedID: 22341398

Guo RX, Chen JQ. Phytoplankton toxicity of the antibiotic chlortetracycline and its UV light degradation products. Chemosphere. 2012;87(11):1254-9.
Two common freshwater phytoplankton species Microcystis aeruginosa and Scenedesmus obliquus were employed as test organisms to investigate the toxic effects of chlortetracycline widely used in human medicine and veterinary as antibiotic. Toxicity assays were performed into two parts: antibiotic toxicity test and antibiotic degraded products toxicity test. In general, chlortetracycline had significantly toxic effect on population growth and chlorophyll-a accumulation of two phytoplankton. Although M. aeruginosa had ability to grow after exposed to chlortetracycline at 0.5 mg L(-1), its photosynthesis function was also disrupted. Compared with the data in two phytoplankton species, the chlorophyceae was more sensitive than the cyanophyceae. The adverse effect on S. obliquus was stronger than that on M. aeruginosa with increasing concentrations. In addition, for M. aeruginosa, regardless of the UV light degradation time, the treated chlortetracycline also had adverse effect on population growth and chlorophyll-a accumulated. The degraded chlortetracycline under any treatment time was more toxic for S. obliquus than chlortetracycline itself excluding under 24 h. However, the correlation between the toxicity and degradation time was not clear and toxicity enhanced in fact did not follow the increase or decrease in degradation time. Our study showed that the antibiotic chlortetracycline and its degraded products had adverse effect on freshwater phytoplankton, the former has not been reported before and the latter has been overlooked in other research in the past.