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Release of active pharmaceutical ingredients from Indian bulk drug manufacture – environmental fate and effects on antibiotic resistance development, microbial ecosystems and vertebrate physiology

Conference paper
Authors D. G. Joakim Larsson
Jerker Fick
Yougesh Schouche
Gunnar Carlsson
Sara Brosché
Lina-Maria Gunnarsson
Thomas Backhaus
Lars Förlin
Malte Hermansson
Edward R.B. Moore
Published in 2008 Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, November 16-20, Tampa, USA
Publication year 2008
Published at Department of Cell and Molecular Biology
Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Department of Zoology
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Infectious Medicine
Language en
Keywords Pharmaceuticals, Effluent, Toxicity, Water quality
Subject categories Environmental toxicology

Abstract

Last year, we published a paper showing extraordinary high levels of several drugs in treated effluent from a plant receiving process water from about 90 bulk drug manufacturers from the Hyderabad region in India. Particularly, the levels of various fluoroquinolones (up to 31 mg/L) called for more information on the potential development of antibiotic resistance of exposed bacteria, as well as potential ecological effects on microbial ecosystems. In this study we will present the first characterization of 93 strains of bacteria sampled inside the treatment facility for their sensitivity/resistance to 39 different antibiotics. Furthermore, controlled exposure experiments suggest that the treated effluent affects the functional structure of natural freshwater microbial communities at a dilution of 1:1000. Short to medium-term exposure experiments with frogs and fish demonstrate sublethal effects of the treated effluent at similar dilutions, suggesting that expected environmental effects are not restricted to disturbed microorganism communities. Data on the fate of different pharmaceuticals in a gradient up and downstream from the treatment facility will be presented, as well as levels in drinking water wells in seven nearby villages, showing a transport of drugs via the groundwater. We conclude that the environmental impact of drug production in the Hyderabad region is of great environmental concern. We will also present summary data on the origin of active substances present in pharmaceutical products on the Swedish market, implying an international responsibility for improving the environmental pollution situation related to bulk drug production in India.

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