Sucralose induces biochemical responses in Daphnia magna

PLoS One. 2014 Apr 3;9(4):e92771. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0092771. eCollection 2014.


The intense artificial sweetener sucralose has no bioconcentration properties, and no adverse acute toxic effects have been observed in standard ecotoxicity tests, suggesting negligible environmental risk. However, significant feeding and behavioural alterations have been reported in non-standard tests using aquatic crustaceans, indicating possible sublethal effects. We hypothesized that these effects are related to alterations in acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and oxidative status in the exposed animals and investigated changes in AChE and oxidative biomarkers (oxygen radical absorbing capacity, ORAC, and lipid peroxidation, TBARS) in the crustacean Daphnia magna exposed to sucralose (0.0001-5 mg L(-1)). The sucralose concentration was a significant positive predictor for ORAC, TBARS and AChE in the daphnids. Moreover, the AChE response was linked to both oxidative biomarkers, with positive and negative relationships for TBARS and ORAC, respectively. These joint responses support our hypothesis and suggest that exposure to sucralose may induce neurological and oxidative mechanisms with potentially important consequences for animal behaviour and physiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Daphnia / drug effects*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Sucrose / analogs & derivatives*
  • Sucrose / pharmacology
  • Sweetening Agents / pharmacology*
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Sucrose
  • trichlorosucrose
  • Acetylcholinesterase

Grant support

This work was funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency ( The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.