Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2011 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Pharmaceutical compounds in BES streams: concentrations and ecological effects
Rosi-Marshall, Emma
Co-Authors: Emma J. Rosi-Marshall, Dustin Kincaid, Heather Bechtold and Todd V. Royer

Abstract: Pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) are ubiquitous in surface waters throughout the world. We explored potential retention of measured the concentrations of PPCPs in two streams at BES. In Gwynns Run, we found high concentrations of caffeine, acetaminophen, ibuprofen and sulfamethoxazole and we found very low amounts of PPCPs in Dead Run. Concentrations of these compounds did not decline with distance downstream in either streams, suggesting that they are relatively stable and not degraded or taken up by the streams along the distances measured. We also measured in situ responses of stream biofilms to six common pharmaceutical compounds (caffeine, cimetidine, ciprofloxacin, diphenhydramine, metformin, ranitidine and a mixture of each) by deploying pharmaceutical diffusing substrates in Dead Run and compared it to NY and IN streams. Across all sites, we observed significant reduction in algal biomass, respiration, and primary production in response to caffeine, ciprofloxacin, diphenhydramine and the mixed treatment, respectively. Biofilm respiration was significantly suppressed by caffeine (53%), cimetidine (51%), ciprofloxacin (91%), diphenhydramine (63%), or the mixed treatment (40%). Response to PPCP’s was especially apparent in autumn in New York, where photosynthesis was significantly suppressed by diphenhydramine (99%) and the mixed treatment (88%). PPCPs present in BES streams could have consequences for important ecosystem functions and higher trophic levels.