Bioaccumulation and trophic transfer of pharmaceuticals in food webs from a large freshwater lake.

Research paper by Zhengxin Z Xie, Guanghua G Lu, Zhenhua Z Yan, Jianchao J Liu, Peifang P Wang, Yonghua Y Wang

Indexed on: 31 Dec '16Published on: 31 Dec '16Published in: Environmental Pollution


Pharmaceuticals are increasingly detected in environmental matrices, but information on their trophic transfer in aquatic food webs is insufficient. This study investigated the bioaccumulation and trophic transfer of 23 pharmaceuticals in Taihu Lake, China. Pharmaceutical concentrations were analyzed in surface water, sediments and 14 aquatic species, including plankton, invertebrates and fish collected from the lake. The median concentrations of the detected pharmaceuticals ranged from not detected (ND) to 49 ng/L in water, ND to 49 ng/g dry weight (dw) in sediments, and from ND to 130 ng/g dw in biota. Higher concentrations of pharmaceuticals were found in zoobenthos relative to plankton, shrimp and fish muscle. In fish tissues, the observed pharmaceutical contents in the liver and brain were generally higher than those in the gills and muscle. Both bioaccumulation factors (median BAFs: 19-2008 L/kg) and biota-sediment accumulation factors (median BSAFs: 0.0010-0.037) indicated a low bioaccumulation potential for the target pharmaceuticals. For eight of the most frequently detected pharmaceuticals in food webs, the trophic magnification factors (TMFs) were analyzed from two different regions of Taihu Lake. The TMFs for roxithromycin, propranolol, diclofenac, ibuprofen, ofloxacin, norfloxacin, ciprofloxacin and tetracycline in the two food webs ranged from 0.28 to 1.25, suggesting that none of these pharmaceuticals experienced trophic magnification. In addition, the pharmaceutical TMFs did not differ significantly between the two regions in Taihu Lake.