Pharmaceuticals in hair of the Red fox
Original: Neonicotinoids and pharmaceuticals in hair of the Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) from the Cavallino-Treporti peninsula, Italy
Neonicotinoids (NEOs) and active pharmaceuticals ingredients (API) are contaminants widely diffused worldwide, causing increasing concern for potential adverse effects on wildlife. However, research on these contaminants have focused on target and non-target invertebrates, while information on potential effects in terrestrial mammals is lacking. We performed preliminary non-invasive monitoring of NEOs and API in a suburban and agricultural area using hair of the Red fox. The Red fox is a widely diffused mesopredator in Europe, and its plasticity in feeding habits makes it an excellent indicator for assessing exposure to environmental contamination. We observed the presence of NEOs in many Red fox hair samples (n = 11), including imidacloprid (IMI), acetamiprid (ACE), and clothianidin (CLO). The highest quantified concentrations were 6.4 ng g−1 dry weight (dw), 6.7 ng g−1 dw, and 0.9 ng g−1 dw for IMI, ACE, and CLO, respectively. The targeted APIs included non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and antidepressants. APIs were less frequently detected than NEOs, and the compounds with the highest prevalence were the NSAID ketoprofen (36%), the antidepressant sertraline (36%), and its active metabolite norsertraline (27%). The presence of human pharmaceuticals such as the NSAID ibuprofen and the antidepressants sertraline, fluoxetine, and their active metabolites norsertraline and norfluoxetine suggest environmental contamination due to untreated and partially treated wastewater discharged in surface waters and soils of the study area. The detection and quantification of ketoprofen and flunixin also suggest the possible use of contaminated manure on farmland. Findings indicate that hair may be used for monitoring environmental exposure to NEOs and provide evidence that hair is a good marker of exposure for antidepressants and certain NSAIDs, including ibuprofen, ketoprofen, and flunixin.
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