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Using the Tea Bag Index to determine how two human pharmaceuticals affect litter decomposition by aquatic microorganisms.

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dc.contributor.author Hunter, William Ross
dc.contributor.author Williamson, Ashley
dc.contributor.author Sarneel, Judith Maria
dc.date.accessioned 2021-06-24T13:57:31Z
dc.date.available 2021-06-24T13:57:31Z
dc.date.issued 2021-06-15
dc.identifier http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12518/304
dc.identifier.citation Hunter, W. R., Williamson, A. and Sarneel, J. M. (2021) ‘Using the Tea Bag Index to determine how two human pharmaceuticals affect litter decomposition by aquatic microorganisms’, Ecotoxicology. doi: 10.1007/s10646-021-02435-0. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 0963-9292
dc.identifier.issn 1573-3017 (electronic)
dc.identifier.uri https://doi.org/10.1007/s10646-021-02435-0
dc.description Publication history: Accepted - 25 May 2021; Published - 15 June 2021. en_US
dc.description.abstract This study demonstrates that independent additive effects of two human pharmaceuticals, the antibiotic trimethoprim and the artificial estrogen 17a-Ethinylestradiol (EE2), inhibit plant litter decomposition by aquatic microorganisms. The constant release of pharmaceuticals, such as these, has the potential to affect aquatic microbial metabolism and alter biogeochemical cycling of carbon and nutrients. Here we advance the Tea Bag Index (TBI) for decomposition by using it in a series of contaminant exposure experiments testing how interactions between trimethoprim and EE2 affect aquatic microbial activity. The TBI is a citizen science tool used to test microbial activity by measuring the differential degradation of green and rooibos tea as proxies for respectively labile and recalcitrant litter decomposition. Exposure to either trimethoprim or EE2 decreased decomposition of green tea, suggesting additive effects upon microbial activity. Exposure to EE2 alone decreased rooibos tea decomposition. Consequently, trimethoprim and EE2 stabilized labile organic matter against microbial degradation and restricted decomposition. We propose that the method outlined could provide a powerful tool for testing the impacts of multiple interacting pollutants upon microbial activity, at a range of scales, across aquatic systems and over ecologically relevant time scales. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship This work was funded through start-up funds provided to WRH by the University of Ulster School of Geography and Environmental Science. JMS acknowledges the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) for funding. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Springer en_US
dc.rights © 2021 Springer Nature Switzerland AG. Part of Springer Nature. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher. en_US
dc.title Using the Tea Bag Index to determine how two human pharmaceuticals affect litter decomposition by aquatic microorganisms. en_US
dc.type Article en_US


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