17α-ethynylestradiol (EE2) limits the impact of ibuprofen upon respiration by streambed biofilms in a sub-urban stream

Peter McClean, William Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Pharmaceutical compounds such as the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen and the artificial estrogen 17α-ethynylestradiol (EE2) are contaminants of emerging concern in freshwater systems. Globally, human pharmaceutical use is growing by around ~3 % per year, yet we know little about how interactions between different pharmaceuticals may affect aquatic ecosystems. Here we test how interactions between ibuprofen and EE2 affect the growth and respiration of streambed biofilms. We used contaminant exposure experiments to quantify how these compounds affected biofilm growth (biomass), respiration, net primary production (NPP) and gross primary production (GPP), both individually and in combination. We found no effects of either ibuprofen or EE2 on biofilm biomass (using ash free dry mass as a proxy) or gross primary production. Ibuprofen significantly reduced biofilm respiration and altered NPP. Concomitant exposure to EE2, however, counteracted the inhibitory effects of ibuprofen upon biofilm respiration. Our study, thus, demonstrates that interactions between pharmaceuticals in the environment may have complex effects upon microbial contributions to aquatic ecosystem functioning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37149-37154
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Volume27
Early online date17 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • 17α-ethynylestradiol
  • Biofilm
  • EE2
  • Ibuprofen
  • Microbial metabolism
  • Pharmaceuticals and personal care products

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