Effectiveness of oyster spat stick communities in removing pharmaceutical contaminants from tidal creeks
Fuller, Scarlett Louise
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Pharmaceuticals are biologically active molecules, designed to affect biological processes at very low doses. Exposure to these compounds poses risks to both aquatic organisms and human health. Faulty septic tanks in coastal areas may release these chemicals into aquatic environments. Field and controlled laboratory studies explored the accumulation of five pharmaceuticals by oysters (Crassostrea virginica). Three sites in Coastal Georgia showed significant (p < 0.05) seasonal variation of pharmaceutical and lipid concentrations in oyster tissue. Controlled laboratory studies indicated a significant (p < 0.05) increase in uptake over 96 h exposure, as well as microbial interactions. The presence of an algal food source significantly (p < 0.05) decreased ibuprofen concentrations in oysters. This study confirms the ability of oysters to assimilate pharmaceuticals associated with human sewage pollution and may vary by seasonal fluctuations in lipid content.