Impact of Pharmaceuticals on the Histopathology and Behavior of Orconectes immunis

Sunday, February 14, 2016
Julia Czarnecki, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY
The global presence of pharmaceuticals in the natural environment is of increasing concern. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) lacks monitoring, regulation regarding discharge, and standard levels for these chemicals. This study investigated the effects of fluoxetine, triclosan, and amphetamines, substances commonly used in Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs), on the pathology and behavior of the Hudson River crayfish Orconectes immunis.  Experimental concentrations of the chemicals were calculated based on known ambient environmental levels.  The following experimental concentrations were established and used in a controlled laboratory set-up: 2.0 and 200.0 ng/L of amphetamine, 0.5 and 5.0 μg/L of fluoxetine, and 2.3 and 230.0 μg/L of triclosan.  In addition, three controls included flow-through tanks, filtered Hudson River water tanks, and cages submerged directly in the Hudson River at the Marist College Cornell Boathouse River Laboratory. On alternate days, behavioral observations and water chemistry measurements were conducted.  After 14 days of exposure, the crayfish were harvested and histological slides of the brain, liver, exoskeleton, gills, and muscle were prepared and analyzed for pathological changes.  Results demonstrated increased aggression in amphetamine groups as well as less responsive behavior in fluoxetine and triclosan treatments. Histological analysis displayed alterations to tissue structure in higher concentrations, including swelling of the vascular channels in the hepatocyte structures. Further investigation of how PPCPs affect the Hudson River is necessary to understand the threat these chemicals pose to aquatic ecosystems and human populations that rely upon the river as a water resource.