Toxicity of the fluoroquinolone antibiotics enrofloxacin and ciprofloxacin to photoautotrophic aquatic organisms

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Abstract

The present study investigated the growth inhibition effect of the fluoroquinolone antibiotics enrofloxacin and ciprofloxacin on four photoautotrophic aquatic species: the freshwater microalga Desmodesmus subspicatus, the cyanobacterium Anabaena flos-aquae, the monocotyledonous macrophyte Lemna minor, and the dicotyledonous macrophyte Myriophyllum spicatum. Both antibiotics, which act by inhibiting the bacterial DNA gyrase, demonstrated high toxicity to A. flos-aquae and L. minor and moderate to slight toxicity to D. subspicatus and M. spicatum. The cyanobacterium was the most sensitive species with median effective concentration (EC50) values of 173 and 10.2 µg/L for enrofloxacin and ciprofloxacin, respectively. Lemna minor proved to be similarly sensitive, with EC50 values of 107 and 62.5 µg/L for enrofloxacin and ciprofloxacin, respectively. While enrofloxacin was more toxic to green algae, ciprofloxacin was more toxic to cyanobacteria. Calculated EC50s for D. subspicatus were 5,568 µg/L and >8,042 µg/L for enrofloxacin and ciprofloxacin, respectively. These data, as well as effect data from the literature, were compared with predicted and reported environmental concentrations. For two of the four species, a risk was identified at ciprofloxacin concentrations found in surface waters, sewage treatment plant influents and effluents, as well as in hospital effluents. For ciprofloxacin the results of the present study indicate a risk even at the predicted environmental concentration. In contrast, for enrofloxacin no risk was identified at predicted and measured concentrations. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011;30:2786–2792. © 2011 SETAC

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