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Emerging Contaminants in the Environment
2022, 579-601

Bioremediation of cytostatic pharmaceutical and personal care products and emerging technologies

Pranaba N. Bhattacharyya1, Songita Sonowal2, Liza Handique Bhattacharyya3

Department of Botany, Nanda Nath Saikia College, Titabar, India.


Cytostatic pharmaceuticals or cytostatic drugs, commonly used in chemotherapy, are aggressive toxic chemicals that have diverse toxicity like cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, mutagenic properties, carcinogenic properties, endocrine-disrupting properties, and so on, to living organisms. Personal care products (PCP) and their ingredients are everyday used consumer products that possess a dizzying array of health risks and safety issues. As today’s people are very much health and beauty conscious, the use of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) have also increased at a steep rate and creates enormous health hazards and environmental toxicity. Notably, due to increased incidences of diverse types of cancer conditions, the use of cytostatic pharmaceuticals have also been increasing at an alarming rate, leading to acute and chronic toxicity. Bioremediation is a modern technology that exploits the living organisms such as microorganisms (e.g., bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, etc.) and plants to remove and clean up contaminants, pollutants, heavy metals, and diverse toxins from soil, water, and other contaminated environments like oil spills, acid mine drainage, petroleum effluents etc. including the PPCPs. Stimulating the growth of potent microbial strains with novel bioremediation potential using optimum growth conditions like temperature, pH, nutrients, and essential carbon and nitrogen sources are considered as key criteria in bioremediation-related research in vitro. There are limitations in physical and chemical remediation technologies to remove the cytostatic and cytotoxic compounds at their source of origin and utilization sites like hospital effluents, household discharge, and drug manufacturers, which eventually results high toxicity and unexceptable environmental threat. Exploiting the modern biological tools in removal of PPCPs is a cost-effective, non-chemical, and eco-friendly emerging approach to eliminate toxic environmental contaminants and maintanance of sustainability. The present article focuses on adoption of non-chemical, microbial-mediated mechanisms like biofiltration, nanofilters, rhizodegradation, bioscrubber bioreactors, biotrickling filters, biosorption, hydrogels, and biopolymers, etc. in degradation of cytostatic pharmaceuticals and PCPs of environmental concerns and toxicity.

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