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Diet-related effects of antimicrobials in aquatic decomposer-shredder and periphyton-grazer systems

  • Leaf-associated microbial decomposers as well as periphyton serve as important food sources for detritivorous and herbivorous macroinvertebrates (shredders and grazers) in streams. Shredders and grazers, in turn, provide not only collectors with food but also serve as prey for predators. Therefore, decomposer-shredder and periphyton-grazer systems (here summarized as freshwater biofilm-consumer systems) are highly important for the energy and nutrient supply in heterotrophic and autotrophic stream food webs. However, both systems can be affected by chemical stressors, amongst which antimicrobials (e.g., antibiotics, fungicides and algaecides) are of particular concern. Antimicrobials can impair shredders and grazers not only via waterborne exposure (waterborne effect pathway) but also through dietary exposure and microorganism-mediated alterations in the food quality of their diet (dietary effect pathway). Even though the relevance of the latter pathway received more attention in recent years, little is known about the mechanisms that are responsible for the observed effects in shredders and grazers. Therefore, the first objective of this thesis was to broaden the knowledge of indirect antimicrobial effects in a model shredder and grazer via the dietary pathway. Moreover, although freshwater biofilm-consumer systems are most likely exposed to antimicrobial mixtures comprised of different stressor groups, virtually nothing is known of these mixture effects in both systems. Therefore, the second objective was to assess and predict diet-related antimicrobial mixture effects in a model freshwater biofilm-consumer system. During this thesis, positive diet-related effects of a model antibiotic on the energy processing and physiology of the shredder Gammarus fossarum were observed. They were probably triggered by shifts in the leaf-associated microbial community in favor of aquatic fungi that increased the food quality of leaves for the shredder. Contrary to that, a model fungicide induced negative effects on the energy processing of G. fossarum via the dietary pathway, which can be explained by negative impacts on the microbial decomposition efficiency leading to a reduced food quality of leaf litter for gammarids. For diet-related antimicrobial effects in periphyton-grazer systems, a model algaecide altered the periphyton community composition by increasing nutritious and palatable algae. This resulted in an enhanced consumption and physiological fitness of the grazer Physella acuta. Finally, it was shown that complex horizontal interactions among leaf-associated microorganisms are involved, making diet-related antimicrobial mixture effects in the shredder G. fossarum difficult to predict. Thus, this thesis provides new insights into indirect diet-related effects of antimicrobials on shredders and grazers as well as demonstrates uncertainties of antimicrobial mixture effect predictions for freshwater biofilm-consumer systems. Moreover, the findings in this thesis are not only informative for regulatory authorities, as indirect effects and effects of mixtures across chemical classes are not considered in the environmental risk assessment of chemical substances, but also stimulate future research to close knowledge gaps identified during this work.

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Author:Marco Konschak
Title Additional (German):Nahrungsbezogene Effekte von antimikrobiellen Substanzen in aquatischen Zersetzer-Zerkleinerer- und Periphyton-Weidegänger-Systemen
Referee:Mirco Bundschuh, Ralf Schulz
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of completion:2022/06/29
Date of publication:2022/06/29
Publishing institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Universitätsbibliothek
Granting institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Fachbereich 7
Date of final exam:2022/06/02
Release Date:2022/06/29
Number of pages:VI, 209 Seiten
Kumulative Dissertation
Institutes:Fachbereich 7
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht: § 53 UrhG