Effects of the antibiotic tetracycline on the reproduction, growth and population growth rate of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans

in Nematology
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The antibiotic tetracycline (TC) has been reported in natural systems, a consequence of its abundant usage in farming. TCs are protein synthesis inhibitors that are effective against bacteria but adverse effects on non-target organisms, whilst less well understood, have also been demonstrated. This study is the first investigation into the effects of this common antibiotic on the growth, reproduction and population growth rate (PGR) of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. All toxicological endpoints were shown to be affected negatively. TC concentrations as low as 5 mg l−1 (5 ppm) significantly reduced growth and reproduction, and even lower concentrations (3 mg l−1 or 3 ppm) significantly decreased the PGR. These levels are much higher than the TC concentrations detected in surface waters, sediments and soils (0.005-300 ppb). However, although the antibiotic might not pose a direct significant risk to nematodes in the natural environment, its use in RNAi experiments involving C. elegans may cause unwanted effects that influence interpretations of the results.

Effects of the antibiotic tetracycline on the reproduction, growth and population growth rate of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans

in Nematology

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Figures

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    Inhibition of reproduction by Caenorhabditis elegans exposed to tetracycline for 96 h (n=5). K-medium data displayed in black, straight lines and circles. CNGG-medium data displayed in grey, dashed lines and filled triangles. The values at the top of the graph (first K-medium, second CNGG-medium) represent the average reproduction per treatment, expressed as numbers of juveniles per hermaphrodite ± SD. Significant differences according to post hoc tests between treatment and control are indicated: P<0.05; ∗∗P<0.01; ∗∗∗P<0.001.

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    Inhibition of growth by Caenorhabditis elegans exposed to tetracycline in K-medium for 96 h (n=5). The values at the top of the graph represent the average growth of nematodes per treatment ± SD. Significant differences according to post hoc tests between treatment and control are indicated: P<0.05; ∗∗P<0.01; ∗∗∗P<0.001.

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    Population growth of Caenorhabditis elegans at different concentrations of tetracycline. Values are means ± SD (n=5). Lines were fitted by non-linear regression according to a logistic growth model. Data points are slightly shifted to the right (compared to the control data points) for reading convenience. For purposes of comparison, data points for the control and the 1 mg tetracycline l−1 treatment are displayed in the top and bottom graphs.

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    Inhibition of the population growth rate of Caenorhabditis elegans exposed to tetracycline (n=5). The values at the top of the graph represent the average population growth rate per treatment ± SD. Significant differences according to post hoc tests between treatment and control are indicated: P<0.05; ∗∗P<0.01; ∗∗∗P<0.001.

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