Psychoactive pharmaceuticals in aquatic systems – different approaches for environmental monitoring

Psychoactive pharmaceuticals are receiving increased attention because modulation of biological targets in the central nervous system can lead to altered behaviour of exposed organisms (e.g. predators-prey relationships, social traits, feeding rate, reproduction or migration strategies).

Ten Czech rivers with diverse flows and contribution of communal pollution was selected for examination of psychoactive pharmaceuticals occurrence. We used several common sampling approaches – grab water samples, passive samples, the whole-body homogenate of juvenile fish and selected adult fish tissues. We found statistically significant relationship between grab water and passive samples while no relationship was observed for passive samples and tissue specific pharmaceuticals accumulation. Highly bioaccumulative antidepressant sertraline was found in all adult fish brain samples except of fish from Vltava River in National Park Šumava. 

We could further conclude that instream dilution of effluent plays more important role than size of pollution source.

Further details can be found in the following publication: Grabicová, K., Grabic, R., Fedorova, G., Kolářová, J., Turek, J., Brooks, B.W., Randák, T., 2020. Psychoactive pharmaceuticals in aquatic systems: A comparative assessment of environmental monitoring approaches for water and fish. Environmental Pollution 261, 114150.

Distribution of sampled localities based on statistical analysis (PCA) of analysed pharmaceuticals in different matrices. Localities with similar contamination profile are labelled with the same colour. Number given below the locality means population contributing to the pollution normalized to annual flow.