The present work focuses on the ecotoxicological effects of montelukast sodium (MTL) and its photoproducts, obtained under environmentally-like conditions. Despite of the potential presence in surface waters and the common use of MTL as asthma drug, limited data has been published for its photodegradation, while no information is available for its ecotoxicity. Light-induced degradation is an effective way for drugs to degrade in aquatic environments, and MTL is highly photosensitive, even by exposure to sunlight. In this study, solar-simulated irradiation of the drug in water was investigated. The drug was quickly converted into a series of photoproducts that were spectroscopically characterized. The possible photoreaction pathways were proposed. Ecotoxicity tests were performed on parent compound and mixture of photoproducts towards two bioindicators (Raphidocelis subcapitata and Daphnia magna). Results evidenced that effects of MTL on D. magna (EC50 = 16.4 mg/L) were greater than effects on R. subcapitata (EC50 = 195.7 mg/L). Microscopy observations revealed that MTL had mainly accumulated in the gut of daphnia. Toxicity data on photolysed solutions highlighted the presence of residual toxicity in all samples, evidencing that no complete mineralization occurred. Future research should focus on monitoring of MTL concentrations in the environment and study its effects in bioaccumulation tests.
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