Illicit drugs have been recognized as emerging aquatic pollutants due to their presence in aquatic ecosystems up to μg/L level. Among these, the synthetic psycho-stimulant drug amphetamine (AMPH) is commonly found in both surface and wastewaters worldwide. Even though the environmental occurrence of AMPH is well-known, the information on its toxicity towards non-target freshwater organisms is completely lacking. This study investigated the imbalance of the oxidative status and both oxidative and genetic damage induced by a 14-day exposure to two concentrations (500 ng/L and 5000 ng/L) of AMPH on the freshwater bivalve Dreissena polymorpha by the application of a biomarker suite. We investigated the activity of antioxidant enzymes (SOD, CAT and GPx), the phase II detoxifying enzyme GST, the lipid peroxidation level (LPO) and protein carbonyl content (PCC), as well as primary (Single Cell Gel Electrophoresis assay) and fixed (DNA diffusion assay and Micronucleus test) genetic damage. Our results showed that a current realistic AMPH concentration (500 ng/L) did neither cause notable imbalances in enzymatic activities, nor oxidative and genetic damage to cellular macromolecules. In contrast, the bell-shaped trend of antioxidants showed at the highest tested concentration (5000 ng/L) suggested an overproduction of reactive oxygen species, leading to oxidative damage, as confirmed by the significant increase of protein carbonylation and DNA fragmentation.
- Dreissena polymorpha
- Illicit drugs
- Oxidative and genetic biomarkers
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry