Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 17, pp 6933–6948 | Cite as

Degradation and transformation of fluoroquinolones by microorganisms with special emphasis on ciprofloxacin

  • Marina Rusch
  • Astrid Spielmeyer
  • Holger Zorn
  • Gerd HamscherEmail author


Although internationally recognized as the “highest priority critically important antimicrobials,” fluoroquinolones are extensively used in both human and veterinary medicine. Poor metabolism and recalcitrance of fluoroquinolones have led to their worldwide presence in municipal wastewaters as well as in manure and, consequently, in several environmental compartments. Being one of the most widely used fluoroquinolones in human medicine and, aside from that, the main metabolite of the veterinary drug enrofloxacin, ciprofloxacin is the most frequently detected fluoroquinolone in effluents of European wastewater treatment plants. Due to serious global concerns about the increasing emergence of bacterial (multi)resistances toward the highly efficient fluoroquinolones, special attention has been paid to their environmental degradation by various microorganisms. This review summarizes research on microbial transformation and degradation of fluoroquinolones with special emphasis on ciprofloxacin, presents an overview of the main ciprofloxacin biotransformation products, and takes a closer look at their biological relevance. Furthermore, own data, experiences, and publications gathered from our recent research in the field are acknowledged.


Ciprofloxacin Biotransformation Biodegradation Fungi Metabolism Metabolites 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2019_10017_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (247 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 246 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Food Chemistry and Food BiotechnologyJustus Liebig University GiessenGiessenGermany
  2. 2.Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied EcologyGiessenGermany

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