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Effects of the antibiotic tetracycline on the reproduction, growth and population growth rate of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans

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The antibiotic tetracycline (TC) has been reported in natural systems, a consequence of its abundant usage in farming. TCs are protein synthesis inhibitors that are effective against bacteria but adverse effects on non-target organisms, whilst less well understood, have also been demonstrated. This study is the first investigation into the effects of this common antibiotic on the growth, reproduction and population growth rate (PGR) of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. All toxicological endpoints were shown to be affected negatively. TC concentrations as low as 5 mg l−1 (5 ppm) significantly reduced growth and reproduction, and even lower concentrations (3 mg l−1 or 3 ppm) significantly decreased the PGR. These levels are much higher than the TC concentrations detected in surface waters, sediments and soils (0.005-300 ppb). However, although the antibiotic might not pose a direct significant risk to nematodes in the natural environment, its use in RNAi experiments involving C. elegans may cause unwanted effects that influence interpretations of the results.

Affiliations: 1: 2Department of Animal Ecology, Bielefeld University, Morgenbreede 45, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany

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2014-01-01
2016-12-10

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