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Research article2017Peer reviewed

Environmental relevant levels of a benzodiazepine (oxazepam) alters important behavioral traits in a common planktivorous fish, (Rutilus rutilus)

Brodin, Tomas; Nordling, Johanna; Lagesson, Annelie; Klaminder, Jonatan; Hellstrom, Gustav; Christensen, Bent; Fick, Jerker


Environmental pollution by pharmaceuticals is increasingly recognized as a major threat to aquatic ecosystems worldwide. A complex mix of pharmaceuticals enters waterways via treated wastewater effluent and many remain biochemically active after the drugs reach aquatic systems. However, to date little is known regarding the ecological effects that might arise following pharmaceutical contamination of aquatic environments. One group of particular concern is behaviorally modifying pharmaceuticals as seemingly minor changes in behavior may initiate marked ecological consequences. The aim of this study was to examine the influence of a benzodiazepine anxiolytic drug (oxazepam) on key behavioral traits in wild roach (Rutilus rutilus) at concentrations similar to those encountered in effluent surface waters. Roach exposed to water with high concentrations of oxazepam (280 mu g/L) exhibited increased boldness, while roach at low treatment (0.84 mu g/L) became bolder and more active compared to control fish. Our results reinforce the notion that anxiolytic drugs may be affecting fish behavior in natural systems, emphasizing the need for further research on ecological impacts of pharmaceuticals in aquatic systems and development of new tools to incorporate ecologically relevant behavioral endpoints into ecotoxicological risk assessment.

Published in

Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A: Current Issues
2017, Volume: 80, number: 16-18, pages: 963-970
Publisher: Taylor & Francis

        Sustainable Development Goals

        Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
        Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
        Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

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