John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Comparing the sensitivity of chlorophytes, cyanobacteria, and diatoms to major‐use antibiotics

The occurrence of antibiotic residues in the aquatic environment is an emerging concern. In contrast to daphnia and fish, algae are known to be particularly sensitive to antibiotic exposure. However, to date, a systematic evaluation of the sensitivity of different algal species to antibiotics has not been performed. The aim of the present study was therefore to explore the sensitivity of a battery of algal species toward antibiotic exposures. The present study investigated the growth inhibition effects of 3 major‐use antibiotics, tylosin, lincomycin, and trimethoprim, on 7 algal species from the chlorophyte, cyanobacteria, and diatom groups. Based on median effective concentration (EC50) values, cyanobacteria (EC50 = 0.095–0.13 μmol/L) were found to be the most sensitive group to lincomycin followed by chlorophytes (EC50 = 7.36–225.73 μmol/L) and diatoms (EC50 > 225.73 μmol/L). Cyanobacteria were also the most sensitive group to tylosin (EC50 = 0.09–0.092 μmol/L), but, for this compound, diatoms (EC50 = 1.33–5.7 μmol/L) were more sensitive than chlorophytes (EC50 = 4.14–81.2 μmol/L). Diatoms were most sensitive to trimethoprim (EC50 = 7.36–74.61 μmol/L), followed by cyanobacteria (EC50 = 315.78–344.45 μmol/L), and chlorophytes (EC50 > 344.45 μmol/L) for trimethoprim. Although these results partly support the current approach to regulatory environmental risk assessment (whereby cyanobacterial species are recommended for use with antibiotic compounds), they indicate that for some antibiotics this group might not be the most appropriate test organism. It is therefore suggested that environmental risk assessments consider data on 3 algal groups (chlorophytes, cyanobacteria, and diatoms) and use test species from these groups, which are consistently found to be the most sensitive (Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata, Anabaena flos‐aquae, and Navicula pelliculosa). Environ Toxicol Chem 2016;9999:1–10. © 2016 SETAC

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