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Negative environmental impacts of antibiotic-contaminated effluents from pharmaceutical industries

Bielen, Ana; Šimatović, Ana; Kosić-Vukšić, Josipa; Senta, Ivan; Ahel, Marijan; Babić, Sanja; Jurina, Tamara; González Plaza, Juan José; Milaković, Milena; Udiković-Kolić, Nikolina (2017) Negative environmental impacts of antibiotic-contaminated effluents from pharmaceutical industries. Water Research, 126 . pp. 79-87. ISSN 0043-1354

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Effluents from pharmaceutical industries are recognized as significant contributors to aquatic pollution with antibiotics. Although such pollution has been mostly reported in Asia, knowledge on industrial discharges in other regions of the world, including Europe, and on the effects associated with such exposures is still limited. Thus, we performed chemical, microbiological and ecotoxicological analyses of effluents from two Croatian pharmaceutical industries during four seasons. In treated effluents of the company synthesizing macrolide antibiotic azithromycin (AZI), the total concentration of AZI and two macrolide by-products from its synthesis was 1e3 orders of magnitude higher in winter and springtime (up to 10.5 mg/L) than during the other two seasons (up to 638 mg/L). Accordingly, the highest total concentrations (up to 30 mg/L) in the recipient river were measured in winter and spring. Effluents from second company formulating veterinary antibiotics contained fluoroquinolones, trimethoprim, sulfonamides and tetracyclines ranging from low mg/L to approx. 200 mg/L. Low concentrations of these antibiotics, from below the limit of quantification to approx. few mg/L, have also been measured in the recipient stream. High frequency of culturable bacteria resistant to AZI (up to 83%) or sulfamethazine (up to 90%) and oxytetracycline (up to 50%) were also found in studied effluents. Finally, we demonstrated that toxicity to algae and water fleas often exceeded the permitted values. Most highly contaminated effluents induced multiple abnormalities in zebrafish embryos. In conclusion, using a wide array of analyses we have demonstrated that discharges from pharmaceutical industries can pose a significant ecological and public health concern due to their toxicity to aquatic organisms and risks for promoting development and spread of antibiotic resistance.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The authors are thankful to Nenad Muhin for the help during the collection of samples and Lidija Buzuk for carrying out the Salmonella genotoxicity assay. The research has been supported in part by the Croatian Science Foundation under the project number UIP-2014-09-9350 and in part by the Foundation of Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
Uncontrolled Keywords: antibiotic pollution; drug manufacturing; macrolides; antibiotic resistance; ecotoxicity
Subjects: NATURAL SCIENCES > Biology
NATURAL SCIENCES > Biology > Ecology
NATURAL SCIENCES > Interdisciplinary Natural Sciences > Environmental Science
Divisions: Division for Marine and Enviromental Research
Division of Materials Chemistry
Project titleProject leaderProject codeProject type
Istraživanje utjecaja otpadnih voda iz farmaceutskih industrija na sastav i profil antibiotičke rezistencije izloženih mirkobnih zajednica u slatkovodnim sedimentima-WINARNikolina Udiković KolićUIP-2014-09-9350HRZZ
Depositing User: Sanja Babić
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2017 14:17
DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2017.09.019

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