Chronic toxicity of ibuprofen to Daphnia magna: Effects on life history traits and population dynamics

Lars Henrik Heckmann, Amanda Callaghan, Helen L. Hooper, Richard E Connon, Thomas H. Hutchinson, Steve J. Maund, Richard M. Sibly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) ibuprofen (IB) is a widely used pharmaceutical that can be found in several freshwater ecosystems. Acute toxicity studies with Daphnia magna suggest that the 48 h EC50 (immobilisation) is 10-100 mg IB l-1. However, there are currently no chronic IB toxicity data on arthropod populations, and the aquatic life impacts of such analgesic drugs are still undefined. We performed a 14-day exposure of D. magna to IB as a model compound (concentration range: 0, 20, 40 and 80 mg IB l-1) measuring chronic effects on life history traits and population performance. Population growth rate was significantly reduced at all IB concentrations, although survival was only affected at 80 mg IB l-1. Reproduction, however, was affected at lower concentrations of IB (14-day EC50 of 13.4 mg IB l-1), and was completely inhibited at the highest test concentration. The results from this study indicate that the long-term crustacean population consequences of a chronic IB exposure at environmentally realistic concentrations (ng l-1 to μg l-1) would most likely be of minor importance. We discuss our results in relation to recent genomic studies, which suggest that the potential mechanism of toxicity in Daphnia is similar to the mode of action in mammals, where IB inhibits eicosanoid biosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalToxicology Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 10 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Fecundity
  • Invertebrate
  • Mode of action
  • Reproduction
  • Stress response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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