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Salvinia molesta phytoremediation capacity as a nature-based solution to prevent harmful effects and accumulation of ciprofloxacin in Neotropical catfish

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Phytoremediation has been a potential solution for the removal of pharmaceuticals from water. Here, we evaluated the toxicological safety of ciprofloxacin-contaminated water treated by 96 h with Salvinia molesta. The Neotropical catfish Rhamdia quelen was used as a model, and the potential of the phytoremediation technique for mitigating the drug accumulation in the fishes was also studied. Fish exposed to Cipro (1 and 10 µg·L−1) in untreated water showed toxic responses (alteration of hematological, genotoxicity, biochemical, and histopathological biomarkers) and accumulated Cipro in their muscles at concentrations high for human consumption (target hazardous quotient > 1). Fish exposed to water treated with S. molesta showed no toxic effect and no accumulation of Cipro in their tissues. This must be related to the fact that S. molesta removed up to 97% of Cipro from the water. The decrease in Cipro concentrations after water treatment with S. molesta not only prevented the toxic effects of Cipro on R. quelen fish but also prevented the antimicrobial accumulation in fish flesh, favouring safe consumption by humans. For the very first time, we showed the potential of phytoremediation as an efficiently nature-based solution to prevent environmental toxicological effects of antimicrobials to nontarget organisms such as fish and humans. The use of S. molesta for Cipro-removal from water is a green technology to be considered in the combat against antimicrobial resistance.

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This research was partially funded by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior–Brazil (CAPES)–Finance Code 001 and the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq, Brazil)–Finance Code 406190/2018–6. H. C. Silva de Assis and M. P. Gomes received a research productivity grant from CNPq.

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Rafael Shinji Akiyama Kitamura designed and performed the experiments; did the formal analysis, conceptualization, and investigation; and wrote the paper. Maiara Vicentini performed the conceptualization and wrote the paper. Vitória Bitencourt supported the methodology (hematological biomarkers) and conceptualization. Welton Motta and Taynah Vicari supported the methodology (genotoxicity biomarkers). Júlio César Moreira Brito performed the chemical analysis, designed the paper, and wrote the paper. Marta Margarete Cestari supervised and supported the methodology (genotoxicity biomarkers). Maritana Mela Prodocimo supervised and supported the methodology (histopathological biomarkers) and conceptualization and wrote the paper. Helena Cristina Silva de Assis and Marcelo Pedrosa Gomes planned the experiments, received financial support, wrote the paper, and provided technical support and conceptual advice.

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Correspondence to Rafael Shinji Akiyama Kitamura.

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This work was approved by the Ethics Committee for Animal Experimentation of the Federal University of Paraná under number 1227/2018.

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Kitamura, R.S.A., Vicentini, M., Bitencourt, V. et al. Salvinia molesta phytoremediation capacity as a nature-based solution to prevent harmful effects and accumulation of ciprofloxacin in Neotropical catfish. Environ Sci Pollut Res 30, 41848–41863 (2023).

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