Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Drug used to treat skin conditions is a marine pollutant

24.03.2009
Clotrimazole is a common ingredient in over-the-counter skin creams. Recent results from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, now show that it is associated with major environmental risks.

"The pharmaceuticals and chemicals in everyday use form a mixture in the ocean that has a direct impact on the growth and reproduction of organisms", says scientist Tobias Porsbring.

When Euorpean authorities assess environmental risks, they often do so for one chemical at a time. Recent research, however, shows that the hazardous chemicals that humans spread in the environment do not work alone. Chemicals, drugs and personal-care products that accompany wastewater often end up in the oceans, where they form a "cocktail" of chemicals. This "cocktail-effect" may be more harmful than the individual chemicals alone.

Environmental risks

Scientist Tobias Porsbring at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at the University of Gothenburg has studied natural communities of microalgae along the Swedish west coast. He presents results in his doctoral thesis that show how the use of a common agent against skin fungi, clotrimazole, is associated with major environmental risks.

"The levels of clotrimazole that are measured in the environment affect the synthesis of sterols in the algae, and these are important in several functions in the algal cells. The growth and reproduction of the algae are disturbed. Single-cell microalgae are the fundamental basis of the ocean food chain, and the use of clotrimazole thus may affect the complete ocean ecosystem", says Tobias Porsbring.

"Cocktail effect" on microalgae

Clotrimazole, however, does not act alone in the ocean ecosystem. Many other substances are often found in the oceans, including propranolol (a drug to lower blood pressure), triclosan (an anti-bacterial agent commonly found in soap and deodorants), fluoxetine (an anti-depressant pharmaceutical) and zinc pyrithione (found in anti-dandruff shampoos). The results that Tobias Porsbring presents show that a mixture of such compounds forms a "cocktail effect" that has a direct impact on the growth of the microalgal community.

Theoretical model

The fact that low levels of a pollutant that are insufficient to cause a detectable effect may contribute to a larger, combined effect with other chemicals emphasises that cocktail effects are a real environmental problem. Despite this, assessments of environmental risk are usually carried out on one chemical at a time. Through knowledge of environmental levels and the impact of individual chemicals Tobias Porsbring's thesis launch a theoretical model for calculating how cocktail effects arise. This model can be used to obtain highly reliable estimates of the composite environmental risk from mixtures of chemicals in the ocean ecosystem.

The thesis "On Toxicant-Induced Succession in Periphyton Communities: Effects of Single Chemicals and Chemical Mixtures" was defended at a disputation on 20 March. Tobias Porsbring's supervisor was Professor Hans Blanck.

This doctoral thesis was produced as a collection of papers:
Paper I. Porsbring T, Arrhenius Å, Backhaus T, Kuylenstierna M, Scholze M, Blanck H (2007) The SWIFT periphyton test for high-capacity assessments of toxicant effects on microalgal community development. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 349:299-312
Paper II. Porsbring T, Blanck H, Tjellström H, Backhaus T (2009) Toxicity of the
pharmaceutical clotrimazole to marine microalgal communities. Aquatic Toxicology 91:203-211
Paper III. Porsbring T, Backhaus T, Johansson P, Kuylenstierna M, Blanck H. Mixture toxicity from PSII inhibitors on microalgal community succession is predictable by Concentration Addition. Manuscript
Paper IV. Backhaus T, Porsbring T, Arrhenius Å, Blanck H. Single substance and mixture toxicity of 5 pharmaceuticals and personal care products to marine periphyton communities.

Manuscript

Contact
Tobias Porsbring, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg
Mobile: 46 704 395676
Work tel: 46 31 786 2626
Home tel: 46 31 707 4507
tobias.porsbring@dpes.gu.se
Press information: Krister Svahn
krister.svahn@science.gu.se
46 (0)31 786 49 12

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://hdl.handle.net/2077/19289
http://www.gu.se/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides
16.07.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

nachricht The secret sulfate code that lets the bad Tau in
16.07.2018 | American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides

16.07.2018 | Life Sciences

New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon

16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>