Early Prediction of Ecotoxicological Side Effects of Pharmaceutical Impurities Based on Open-Source Non-testing Approaches

  • Anna Rita Tondo
  • Michele Montaruli
  • Giuseppe Felice Mangiatordi
  • Orazio NicolottiEmail author
Part of the Methods in Pharmacology and Toxicology book series (MIPT)


Despite the increasing efforts to limit waste and avoid environmental contaminants, a large number of compounds using in the pharmaceutical field may have an ecotoxicological impact. Nevertheless, a complete overview of all possible ecotoxicological effects of pharmaceuticals is missing: that is especially true for chemical impurities. The lacking information regarding environmental behavior of impurities could be faced by computational techniques: the ability to predict the unknown toxicity of a compound can reduce uncertainties regarding possible negative effects on the environment of pharmaceutical impurities. In the current scenario, non-testing methods may answer to the requirement of assessing the ecotoxicological impact of chemicals in a more affordable way. For this purpose, in the first part of the review, definition and classification of chemical impurities are proposed, while in the second part, a description of four open-source computational tools (T.E.S.T., VEGA, LAZAR, and QSAR Toolbox) is provided after a brief survey of the computational methods. The paper also shows the advantages of combining individual test methods in order to increase confidence in the predictive results.

Key words

Impurities QSAR Toolbox Ecotoxicity LAZAR VEGA T.E.S.T. Non-testing approaches QSAR models 



To the memory of Michele Montaruli, exceptionally gifted PhD student who has always devoted his life to serving others. To you, Michele, our huge embrace.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Rita Tondo
    • 1
  • Michele Montaruli
    • 2
  • Giuseppe Felice Mangiatordi
    • 3
  • Orazio Nicolotti
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCSMilanItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Farmacia-Scienze del FarmacoUniversità degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro”BariItaly
  3. 3.Istituto di Cristallografia, Consiglio Nazionale delle RicercheBariItaly

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