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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Effects of conventionally treated and ozonated wastewater on the damselfly larva oxylipidome in response to on-site exposure

Spaeth, Jana; Brodin, Tomas; Falas, Per; Niinipuu, Mirva; Lindberg, Richard; Fick, Jerker; Nording, Malin


Pharmaceutical residues discharged through insufficiently treated or untreated wastewater enter aquatic envi-ronments, where they may adversely impact organisms such as aquatic invertebrates. Ozonation, an advanced wastewater treatment technique, has been successfully implemented to enhance the removal of a broad range of pharmaceuticals, however diverse byproducts and transformation products that are formed during the ozonation process make it difficult to predict how ozonated wastewater may affect aquatic biota. The aim of this study was to investigate effects on fatty acid metabolites, oxylipins, in a common invertebrate species, damselfly larvae, after on-site exposure to conventional wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent and additionally ozonated effluent at a full-scale WWTP. Subsequent ozonation of the conventionally treated wastewater was assessed in terms of i) removal of pharmaceuticals and ii) potential sub-lethal effects on the oxylipidome. Northern damselfly (Coenagrion hastulatum) larvae were exposed for six days in the treatment plant facility to either conventional WWTP effluent or ozonated effluent and the effects on pharmaceutical levels and oxylipin levels were compared with those from tap water control exposure. Ozonation removed pharmaceuticals at an average removal effi-ciency of 67% (ozone dose of 0.49 g O3/g DOC). Of 38 pharmaceuticals detected in the effluent, 16 were removed to levels below the limit of quantification by ozonation. Levels of two oxylipins, 12(13)-EpODE and 15 (16)-EpODE, were reduced in larvae exposed to the conventionally treated wastewater in comparison to the tap water control. 15(16)-EpODE was reduced in the larvae exposed to ozonated effluent in comparison to the tap water control. One oxylipin, 8-HETE, was significantly lower in larvae exposed to conventional WWTP effluent compared to ozonated effluent. In conclusion, the study provides proof-of-principle that damselfly larvae can be used on-site to test the impact of differentially treated wastewater.


Benthic invertebrate; Ozonation; Oxylipin; Liquid chromatography tandem mass; spectrometry; Metabolomics; Sewage; Wastewater treatment plant

Published in

2022, volume: 309, article number: 136604

Authors' information

Spaeth, Jana
Umea University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Falas, Per
Lund University
Niinipuu, Mirva
Umea University
Lindberg, Richard
Umea University
Fick, Jerker
Umea University
Nording, Malin
Umea University

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG6 Clean water and sanitation

UKÄ Subject classification

Water Treatment

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