The effects of chloramphenicol on Ulva lactuca

Chemosphere. 2013 Apr;91(4):552-7. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2012.12.061. Epub 2013 Feb 8.


The administration of pharmacological substances in the food producing industry is a crucial and long established practice in ensuring animal welfare. However, a very high percentage of the drugs used will directly or indirectly be present in the various compartments of natural ecosystems therefore constituting a source of pollution. The reactions that these active compounds may impose on non-target organisms are still widely unknown and further research is essential. Also, new approaches on monitoring are necessary and in this sense, the present work aimed to assess the persistence of chloramphenicol (a banned but illegally used antibiotic) in seawater, together with its effects on the growth of the green macroalgae Ulva lactuca. Moreover, the potential use of this species as a bioindicator was assessed. Results showed CAP presented an exponential degradation pattern in seawater with concentrations decreasing faster than expected. As for the effects on U. lactuca it acted as a growth promoter also contradicting the initial assumptions. Regarding the role of this species in biomonitoring it successfully took up CAP in solution while reflecting the concentrations present conferring it good characteristics as a bioindicator. On the other hand, this ability points to a possibility of CAP being accumulated and transferred along the trophic web through the consumption of U. lactuca by organisms in higher levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / toxicity*
  • Chloramphenicol / toxicity*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Risk Assessment
  • Seawater / chemistry
  • Ulva
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Chloramphenicol