Pollution-induced community tolerance to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in fluvial biofilm communities affected by WWTP effluents

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We assessed the tolerance acquired by stream biofilms to two non-steroidal anti-inflammatory-drugs (NSAIDs), ibuprofen and diclofenac. Biofilms came from a stream system receiving the effluent of a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The response of biofilms from a non-polluted site (upstream the WWTP) was compared to that of others downstream with relevant and decreasing levels of NSAIDs. Experiments performed in the laboratory following the pollution-induced community tolerance (PICT) approach determined that both algae and microbial communities from biofilms of the sites exposed at the highest concentrations of ibuprofen and diclofenac acquired tolerance to the mixture of these NSAIDs occurring at the sites. It was also observed that the chronic pollution by the WWTP effluent affected the microbial metabolic profile, as well as the structure of the algal community. The low (at ngL-1 level) but chronic inputs of pharmaceuticals to the river ecosystem result in tolerant communities of lower diversity and altered microbial metabolism ​
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