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Special Issue "Drugs in the Environment—Risks and Solutions"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Green Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Urszula Guzik
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
University of Silesia in Katowice, Faculty of Natural Science, Institute of Biology, Biotechnology and Environmental Protection, Jagiellońska 28, 40 032 Katowice, Poland
Interests: microbiological decomposition of compounds with aromatic structure; biochemistry of microorganisms; toxicity testing of xenobiotics to microorganisms; immobilization of enzymes and bacteria
Dr. Danuta Wojcieszyńska
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
University of Silesia in Katowice, Faculty of Natural Science, Institute of Biology, Biotechnology and Environmental Protection, Jagiellońska 28, 40 032 Katowice, Poland
Interests: biodegradation of aromatics including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; enzymes involved in the breakdown of aromatics; immobilization of microorganisms and enzymatic proteins; microbial metabolism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, the increased usage of pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics, contraceptive hormones, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, lipid regulators, anti-cancer drugs, anti-epileptic drugs, and regulating blood pressure drugs has resulted in their presence in the environment. They reach the environment through usage in human and veterinary medicine, and disposal of unused or out-of-date drugs. This is an emerging problem due to their potential influence on human health and ecological community.

We invite investigators to contribute original research articles, as well as review articles, that will stimulate continuing efforts to develop strategies that can limit environmental contamination by drugs and help remove them from contaminated sites.

Topics of interest for Special Issue include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Environmental risks connected with the presence of pharmaceuticals in the ecosystems;
  • Human and veterinary medicine, animal production, and disposal of unused or out-of-date drugs as sources of drugs in the environment;
  • the metagenomics analysis of the ecosystems involved in the pharmaceuticals disposal sites;
  • Advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) and their value for pharmaceutical utilization;
  • Sewage treatment plant (STP) processes for removing pharmaceutical products;
  • Development of new methods allowing to the intensification of pharmaceuticals degradation;
  • Biotransformation and biodegradation of drugs;
  • Analysis of bioproducts from physicochemical and biological conversions of drugs.
Dr. Urszula Guzik
Dr. Danuta Wojcieszyńska
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Biodegradation
  • Environmental risk
  • Advanced oxidation processes

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Pigeon Pea Husk for Removal of Emerging Contaminants Trimethoprim and Atenolol from Water
Molecules 2021, 26(11), 3158; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26113158 - 25 May 2021
Viewed by 448
Abstract
The pace of industrialization and rapid population growth in countries such as India entail an increased input of industrial and sanitary organic micropollutants, the so-called emerging contaminants (EC), into the environment. The emission of EC, such as pharmaceuticals, reaching Indian water bodies causes [...] Read more.
The pace of industrialization and rapid population growth in countries such as India entail an increased input of industrial and sanitary organic micropollutants, the so-called emerging contaminants (EC), into the environment. The emission of EC, such as pharmaceuticals, reaching Indian water bodies causes a detrimental effect on aquatic life and ultimately on human health. However, the financial burden of expanding sophisticated water treatment capacities renders complementary, cost-efficient alternatives, such as adsorption, attractive. Here we show the merits of washed and milled pigeon pea husk (PPH) as low-cost adsorbent for the removal of the EC trimethoprim (TMP) and atenolol (ATN) that are among the most detected pharmaceuticals in Indian waters. We found a linear increase in adsorption capacity of PPH for TMP and ATN at concentrations ranging from 10 to 200 μg/L and from 50 to 400 μg/L, respectively, reflecting the concentrations occurring in Indian water bodies. Investigation of adsorption kinetics using the external mass transfer model (EMTM) revealed that film diffusion resistance governed the adsorption process of TMP or ATN onto PPH. Moreover, analysis of the adsorption performance of PPH across an extensive range of pH and temperature illustrated that the highest adsorption loadings achieved concurred with actual conditions of Indian waters. We anticipate our work as starting point towards the development of a feasible adsorbent system aiming at low-cost water treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drugs in the Environment—Risks and Solutions)
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Article
Effect of Pseudomonas moorei KB4 Cells’ Immobilisation on Their Degradation Potential and Tolerance towards Paracetamol
Molecules 2021, 26(4), 820; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26040820 - 04 Feb 2021
Viewed by 604
Abstract
Pseudomonas moorei KB4 is capable of degrading paracetamol, but high concentrations of this drug may cause an accumulation of toxic metabolites. It is known that immobilisation can have a protective effect on bacterial cells; therefore, the toxicity and degradation rate of paracetamol by [...] Read more.
Pseudomonas moorei KB4 is capable of degrading paracetamol, but high concentrations of this drug may cause an accumulation of toxic metabolites. It is known that immobilisation can have a protective effect on bacterial cells; therefore, the toxicity and degradation rate of paracetamol by the immobilised strain KB4 were assessed. Strain KB4 was immobilised on a plant sponge. A toxicity assessment was performed by measuring the concentration of ATP using the colony-forming unit (CFU) method. The kinetic parameters of paracetamol degradation were estimated using the Hill equation. Toxicity analysis showed a protective effect of the carrier at low concentrations of paracetamol. Moreover, a pronounced phenomenon of hormesis was observed in the immobilised systems. The obtained kinetic parameters and the course of the kinetic curves clearly indicate a decrease in the degradation activity of cells after their immobilisation. There was a delay in degradation in the systems with free cells without glucose and immobilised cells with glucose. However, it was demonstrated that the immobilised systems can degrade at least ten succeeding cycles of 20 mg/L paracetamol degradation. The obtained results indicate that the immobilised strain may become a useful tool in the process of paracetamol degradation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drugs in the Environment—Risks and Solutions)
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Article
Possibility to Biotransform Anthracyclines by Peroxidases Produced by Bjerkandera adusta CCBAS 930 with Reduction of Geno- and Cytotoxicity and Pro-Oxidative Activity
Molecules 2021, 26(2), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26020462 - 17 Jan 2021
Viewed by 548
Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate the bioremoval mechanism of anthracycline antibiotics by the white-rot fungus B. adusta CCBAS 930. The activity of oxidoreductases and levels of phenolic compounds and free radicals were determined during the biotransformation of anthraquinone antibiotics: daunomycin [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the bioremoval mechanism of anthracycline antibiotics by the white-rot fungus B. adusta CCBAS 930. The activity of oxidoreductases and levels of phenolic compounds and free radicals were determined during the biotransformation of anthraquinone antibiotics: daunomycin (DNR) and doxorubicin (DOX) by B. adusta strain CCBAS 930. Moreover, phytotoxicity (Lepidium sativum L.), ecotoxicity (Vibrio fischeri), genotoxicity and cytotoxicity of anthraquinone dyes were evaluated before and after biological treatment. More than 80% and 90% of DNR and DOX were removed by biodegradation (decolorization). Initial solutions of DNR and DOX were characterized by eco-, phyto-, geno- and cytotoxicity. Despite efficient decolorization, secondary metabolites, toxic to bacteria, formed during biotransformation of anthracycline antibiotics in B. adusta CCBAS 930 cultures. DNR and DOX metabolites did not increase reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in human fibroblasts and resazurin reduction. DNR metabolites did not change caspase-3 activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drugs in the Environment—Risks and Solutions)
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Article
Supramolecular Solvent-Based Microextraction of Selected Anticonvulsant and Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs from Sediment Samples
Molecules 2020, 25(23), 5671; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25235671 - 01 Dec 2020
Viewed by 568
Abstract
The increase in the production and consumption of pharmaceuticals increases their presence in the global environment, which may result in direct threats to living organisms. For this reason, there is a need for new methods to analyze drugs in environmental samples. Here, a [...] Read more.
The increase in the production and consumption of pharmaceuticals increases their presence in the global environment, which may result in direct threats to living organisms. For this reason, there is a need for new methods to analyze drugs in environmental samples. Here, a new procedure for separating and determining selected drugs (diclofenac, ibuprofen, and carbamazepine) from bottom sediment and water samples was developed. Drugs were determined by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled with an ultraviolet detector (UHPLC-UV). In this work, a universal and single-step sample treatment, based on supramolecular solvents (SUPRAS), was proposed to isolate selected anticonvulsants and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) from sediment samples. The following parameters were experimentally selected: composition of the supramolecular solvent (composition THF:H2O (v/v), amount of decanoic acid), volume of extractant, sample mass, extraction time, centrifugation time, and centrifugation speed. Finally, the developed procedure was validated. A Speedisk procedure was also developed to extract selected drugs from water samples. The recovery of analytes using the SUPRAS procedure was in the range of 88.8–115%, while the recoveries of the Speedisk solid-phase extraction procedure ranged from 81.0–106%. The effectiveness of the sorption of the tested drugs by sediment was also examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drugs in the Environment—Risks and Solutions)
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Article
Rapid, Precise and Affordable Estimation of Venlafaxine and Its Metabolites in Highly Polluted Effluent Waters: Proof-of-Concept for Methodology
Molecules 2020, 25(20), 4793; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25204793 - 19 Oct 2020
Viewed by 622
Abstract
Widespread presence of pharmaceuticals and their metabolites in the environment of industrialized countries is an emerging global concern. Potential contamination of the soil and water by such pharmacologically active substances poses serious ecotoxicological implications. Several studies assessing the long-term ecological risks of pharmaceutical [...] Read more.
Widespread presence of pharmaceuticals and their metabolites in the environment of industrialized countries is an emerging global concern. Potential contamination of the soil and water by such pharmacologically active substances poses serious ecotoxicological implications. Several studies assessing the long-term ecological risks of pharmaceutical contaminants mainly focus on the risk assessment of the parent drug, while the potential contributions of their metabolites is often neglected. Presence of selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor venlafaxine, an antidepressant drug, and its metabolites is a matter of serious concern for aquatic systems, since they are difficult to remove by traditional wastewater treatment processes. The concentration of VEN present in water is reportedly one of the highest among pharmaceuticals; however, the long-term effects of its metabolites have not yet been systematically studied. Given the consideration to complex and time-consuming effluent treatment, and realizing the importance of levels of venlafaxine and its metabolites, a simple and accurate analytical method for quick determination is needed. We designed a selective colorimetric method by using oxidative coupling of drug molecules with 3-methyl-2-benzothiazolinone hydrazone hydrochloride (MBTH) reagent, to quantify the presence of venlafaxine and its metabolites in aquatic samples, with special emphasis on effluent. The method was validated for selectivity, specificity and robustness as per the ICH Q2 guidelines to assess its suitability in pharmaceutical samples, as well. Highly sensitive and green economical analytical method was successfully established for estimation of venlafaxine and its metabolites in aquatic samples. The method was quick, as it involved minimum processing steps. The method was accurate and linear in the range of 0.5 to 80 ppm and could successfully detect lowest concentration of 1.3 ppm, thus qualifying its applicability for the desired purpose to check the presence of trace levels of VEN or its metabolites in aquatic samples or in pharmaceutical formulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drugs in the Environment—Risks and Solutions)
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Article
Photoluminescence as a Valuable Tool in the Optical Characterization of Acetaminophen and the Monitoring of Its Photodegradation Reactions
Molecules 2020, 25(19), 4571; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25194571 - 07 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 605
Abstract
In this work, new evidence for the photodegradation reactions of acetaminophen (AC) is reported by photoluminescence (PL), Raman scattering and FTIR spectroscopy. Under excitation wavelength of 320 nm, AC shows a PL band in the spectral range of 340–550 nm, whose intensity decreases [...] Read more.
In this work, new evidence for the photodegradation reactions of acetaminophen (AC) is reported by photoluminescence (PL), Raman scattering and FTIR spectroscopy. Under excitation wavelength of 320 nm, AC shows a PL band in the spectral range of 340–550 nm, whose intensity decreases by exposure to UV light. The chemical interaction of AC with the NaOH solutions, having the concentration ranging between 0.001 and 0.3 M, induces a gradual enhancement of the photoluminescence excitation (PLE) and PL spectra, when the exposure time of samples at the UV light increases until 140 min, as a result of the formation of p-aminophenol and sodium acetate. This behavior is not influenced by the excipients or other active compounds in pharmaceutical products as demonstrated by PLE and PL studies. Experimental arguments for the obtaining of p-aminophenol and sodium acetate, when AC has interacted with NaOH, are shown by Raman scattering and FTIR spectroscopy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drugs in the Environment—Risks and Solutions)
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Article
The Uptake of Ivermectin and Its Effects in Roots, Leaves and Seeds of Soybean (Glycine max)
Molecules 2020, 25(16), 3655; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25163655 - 11 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1085
Abstract
In recent years interest has grown in the occurrence and the effects of pharmaceuticals in the environment. The aim of this work is to evaluate the risk of fertilizing crops with manure from livestock treated with anthelmintics. The present study was designed to [...] Read more.
In recent years interest has grown in the occurrence and the effects of pharmaceuticals in the environment. The aim of this work is to evaluate the risk of fertilizing crops with manure from livestock treated with anthelmintics. The present study was designed to follow the fate of the commonly used anthelmintic drug, ivermectin (IVM) and its metabolites in soybeans (Glycine max (L.) Merr.), a plant that is grown and consumed world-wide for its high content of nutritional and health-beneficial substances. In vitro plantlets and soybean plants, cultivated in a greenhouse, were used for this purpose. Our results showed the uptake of IVM and its translocation to the leaves, but not in the pods and the beans. Four IVM metabolites were detected in the roots, and one in the leaves. IVM exposure decreased slightly the number and weight of the beans and induced changes in the activities of antioxidant enzymes. In addition, the presence of IVM affected the proportion of individual isoflavones and reduced the content of isoflavones aglycones, which might decrease the therapeutic value of soybeans. Fertilization of soybean fields with manure from IVM-treated animals appears to be safe for humans, due to the absence of IVM in beans, the food part of plants. On the other hand, it could negatively affect soybean plants and herbivorous invertebrates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drugs in the Environment—Risks and Solutions)
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Communication
In Vitro Metabolic Transformation of Pharmaceuticals by Hepatic S9 Fractions from Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio)
Molecules 2020, 25(11), 2690; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25112690 - 10 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1095
Abstract
Water from wastewater treatment plants contains concentrations of pharmaceutically active compounds as high as micrograms per liter, which can adversely affect fish health and behavior, and contaminate the food chain. Here, we tested the ability of the common carp hepatic S9 fraction to [...] Read more.
Water from wastewater treatment plants contains concentrations of pharmaceutically active compounds as high as micrograms per liter, which can adversely affect fish health and behavior, and contaminate the food chain. Here, we tested the ability of the common carp hepatic S9 fraction to produce the main metabolites from citalopram, metoprolol, sertraline, and venlafaxine. Metabolism in fish S9 fractions was compared to that in sheep. The metabolism of citalopram was further studied in fish. Our results suggest a large difference in the rate of metabolites formation between fish and sheep. Fish hepatic S9 fractions do not show an ability to form metabolites from venlafaxine, which was also the case for sheep. Citalopram, metoprolol, and sertraline were metabolized by both fish and sheep S9. Citalopram showed concentration-dependent N-desmethylcitalopram formation with Vmax = 1781 pmol/min/mg and Km = 29.7 μM. The presence of ellipticine, a specific CYP1A inhibitor, in the incubations reduced the formation of N-desmethylcitalopram by 30–100% depending on the applied concentration. These findings suggest that CYP1A is the major enzyme contributing to the formation of N-desmethylcitalopram. In summary, the results from the present in vitro study suggest that common carp can form the major metabolites of citalopram, metoprolol, and sertraline. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drugs in the Environment—Risks and Solutions)
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Review

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Review
Suitability of Immobilized Systems for Microbiological Degradation of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds
Molecules 2020, 25(19), 4473; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25194473 - 29 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 630
Abstract
The rising pollution of the environment with endocrine disrupting compounds has increased interest in searching for new, effective bioremediation methods. Particular attention is paid to the search for microorganisms with high degradation potential and the possibility of their use in the degradation of [...] Read more.
The rising pollution of the environment with endocrine disrupting compounds has increased interest in searching for new, effective bioremediation methods. Particular attention is paid to the search for microorganisms with high degradation potential and the possibility of their use in the degradation of endocrine disrupting compounds. Increasingly, immobilized microorganisms or enzymes are used in biodegradation systems. This review presents the main sources of endocrine disrupting compounds and identifies the risks associated with their presence in the environment. The main pathways of degradation of these compounds by microorganisms are also presented. The last part is devoted to an overview of the immobilization methods used for the purposes of enabling the use of biocatalysts in environmental bioremediation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drugs in the Environment—Risks and Solutions)
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