Responses of Ruditapes philippinarum to contamination by pharmaceutical drugs under ocean acidification scenario


  • Ocean acidification alters the impacts of pharmaceutical drugs in marine bivalves.
  • Regardless the pH, drug combination had fewer impacts than drugs acting alone.
  • At control pH, CTZ acting alone caused the highest impacts.
  • Reduced pH per se caused cellular damage.
  • At reduced pH, CBZ and CTZ, alone or combined had limited impacts.


In coastal systems, organisms are exposed to a multitude of stressors whose interactions and effects are poorly studied. Pharmaceutical drugs and Climate Change consequences, such as reduced pH, are examples of stressors affecting marine organisms, as bivalves. Although a vast literature is available for the effects of these stressors when acting individually, very limited information exists on the impacts that the combination of both can have on marine bivalves. For this reason, this study aimed to evaluate the impacts of a simulated ocean acidification scenario (control pH, 8.0; reduced pH, pH 7.6) on the effects of the antiepileptic carbamazepine (CBZ, 1 μg/L) and the antihistamine cetirizine (CTZ, 0.6 μg/L), when acting individually and combined (CBZ + CTZ), on the edible clam Ruditapes philippinarum. After 28 days of exposure, drug concentrations, bioconcentration factors and biochemical parameters related to the clam’s metabolic capacity and oxidative stress were evaluated. The results showed that R. philippinarum clams responded differently to pharmaceutical drugs depending on the pH tested, influencing both bioconcentration and biological responses. In general, drug combined treatments showed fewer impacts than drugs acting alone, and acidification seemed to activate at a higher extension the elimination processes that were not activated under control pH. Also, reduced pH per se exerted negative impacts (e.g., cellular damage) on R. philippinarum and the combination with pharmaceutical drugs did not enhance the toxicity.

Almeida Â., Calisto V., Esteves V. I., Schneider R. J., Soares A. M. V. M. & Freitas R., 2022. Responses of Ruditapes philippinarum to contamination by pharmaceutical drugs under ocean acidification scenario. Science of the Total Environment: 153591. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.153591. Article.

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