Review of aquatic toxicity of pharmaceuticals and personal care products to algae
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Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) have been frequently detected in the environment around the world. Algae play a significant role in aquatic ecosystem, thus the influence on algae may affect the life of higher trophic organisms. This review provides a state-of-the-art overview of current research on the toxicity of PPCPs to algae. Nanoparticles, contained in personal care products, also have been considered as the ingredients of PPCPs. PPCPs could cause unexpected effects on algae and their communities. Chlorophyta and diatoms are more accessible and sensitive to PPCPs. Multiple algal endpoints should be considered to provide a complete evaluation on PPCPs toxicity. The toxicity of organic ingredients in PPCPs could be predicted through quantitative structure-activity relationship model, whereas the toxicity of nanoparticles could be predicted with limitations. Light irradiation can change the toxicity through affecting algae and PPCPs. pH and natural organic matter can affect the toxicity through changing the existence of PPCPs. For joint and tertiary toxicity, experiments could be conducted to reveal the toxic mechanism. For multiple compound mixture toxicity, concentration addition and independent addition models are preferred. However, there has no empirical models to study nanoparticle-contained mixture toxicity. Algae-based remediation is an emerging technology to prevent the release of PPCPs from water treatment plants. Although many individual algal species are identified for removing a few compounds from PPCPs, algal-bacterial photobioreactor is a preferable alternative, with higher chances for industrial applications.
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