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Toxicity of the fungicide ketoconazole to freshwater microalgal communities

Authors Åsa Arrhenius
Mats X. Andersson
Lars Edler
Tobias Porsbring
Thomas Backhaus
Published in SETAC Europe 25th Annual Meeting, Barcelona Spain
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Language en
Subject categories Environmental Sciences, Environmental toxicology, Biological Sciences


Antimycotic pharmaceuticals are widely used for treating fungal infections in humans and animals. They enter the aquatic environment either after passage through the body, or after being rinsed off if they are topically applied. However, substantial knowledge gaps currently hamper a proper environmental risk assessment of the individual antimycotics and their mixtures for marine and freshwater environments. Clotrimazole, a marine priority pollutant, affected sterol composition of marine microalgal communities already at 50 pmol/L which indicates effects already at environmental concentrations. In the present study we focus on ketoconazole (also an azole fungicide) and toxicity to freshwater microalgal communities. A concentration response curve was first established using pigment profiles (HPLC) as endpoint which resulted in an EC50 of around 1 micromol/L. During autumn 2014 we repeated the study but focused on the lower concentration range from 0.0001 to 1 micromol/L. Results on chlorophyll a show similar patterns as in the initial study. The experiments were finished during autumn 2014 and are currently under final evaluation and sterol analysis, species determinations and analytical confirmation of exposure concentrations are currently evaluated. The work is performed within the Swedish Formas-funded project “Aquatic Environmental Risk Assessment of Antimycotics”.

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