Cyclophosphamide (CP) and Ifosfamide (IF) are two nitrogen mustard drugs widely prescribed in cancer therapy. They are continuously released via excreta into hospital and urban wastewaters reaching wastewater treatment plants. Although CP and IF, their metabolites and transformation products (TPs) residues have been found in the aquatic environment from few ng L−1 to tens of μg L−1, their environmental toxic effects are still not well known. The present study aimed to investigate the acute and chronic ecotoxicity of CP and IF and their commercially available human metabolites/TPs, i.e. carboxy-CP, Keto-CP and N-dechloroethyl-CP on different organisms of the aquatic trophic chain. The experiments were performed using the green alga Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata, the rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus and the crustaceans Thamnocephalus platyurus and Ceriodaphnia dubia. Moreover, to assess the treatment conditions in regards to parent compound removal and formation of new TPs, CP and IF were UV- irradiated for 6 h, 12 h, 24 h, 36 h and 48 h, followed by toxicity evaluation of treated samples by algae, rotifers and crustaceans. Between the parent compounds, IF resulted as more toxic drug under tested conditions, exerting both acute and chronic effects especially on C. dubia (LC50:196.4 mg L−1, EC50:15.84 mg L−1). Among the tested metabolites/TPs, only carboxy-CP inhibited the reproduction in the rotifer. However, LOEC and NOEC values were calculated for CP and IF for all organisms. In addition, despite a low degradation of CP (28%) and IF (36%) after 48 h UV-irradiation, statistically significant effect differences (p < 0.05) from not-irradiated and irradiated samples were observed in both acute and chronic assays, starting from 6 h UV-irradiation. Our results suggest that the toxic effects found in the aquatic organisms may be attributable to interactions between the parent compounds and their metabolites/TPs.
Environmental Pollution – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2018
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