Journal of
Toxicology and Environmental Health Sciences

  • Abbreviation: J. Toxicol. Environ. Health Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9820
  • DOI: 10.5897/JTEHS
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 217

Full Length Research Paper

Degradation of antibiotics by bacteria and fungi from the aquatic environment

Frank-Peterside Nnenna, Peekate Lekiah and Oriakpono Obemeata*
Department of Microbiology, University of Port Harcourt, P. M. B. 5323, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 26 July 2011
  •  Published: 30 September 2011


The potential of using bacteria and fungi from aquatic environment to degrade a mixture of two antibiotics, ciprofloxacin and erythromycin, was investigated. The antibiotics were added to river water at a concentration of 4 and 120 mg.L-1 for ciprofloxacin and erythromycin respectively. Three variations of the study unit were setup. The first having increased phosphate concentration; the second having slight increase in pH; and the last having increased phosphate concentration and slight increase in pH. The pH of all the study units was reduced on day 15. Preliminary biodegradation tests showed that though biodegradation of the antibiotics were achieved, phosphate augmentation and variation in pH had no significant effect on the biodegradability of the antibiotics. The results indicate that some bacteria and fungi from aquatic environment exposed to antibiotics will develop the ability to degrade the antibiotics, and develop resistance to the antibiotics and some other antibiotics. The degrading ability of these organisms does not depend on phosphate augmentation and variation in pH of the external environment.


Key words: Aquatic environment, antibiotics, phosphate augmentation, pH variation, biodegradation.