Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 16, pp 16080–16090 | Cite as

Concentration effects of the UV filter oxybenzone in Cyperus alternifolius: assessment of tolerance by stress-related response

  • Feiran Chen
  • Sandrine Schnick
  • Peter Schröder
Research Article


Phytoremediation has been proposed to reduce the load of the sunscreen oxybenzone (OBZ) in the aquatic environment. Despite the proven removal efficiency of this compound, little is known about its influence, particularly oxidative stress on plants. In this study, a short-term incubation of macrophytic Cyperus alternifolius was performed to prove the plant’s ability to withstand the stress. Detached shoots were immersed in medium spiked with different concentrations of OBZ (50, 100, and 500 μM) for 2, 4, and 7 days, respectively. Increased formation of O2 and H2O2 in Cyperus treated with OBZ was characterized by intense colorization following histochemical staining. Alterations of enzyme activities involved in the antioxidative defense system indicate an adaptive response of C. alternifolius to this xenobiotic stress. Quantification of lipid peroxidation reveals that no significant membrane damage occurred during incubation with OBZ. Overall, 50 μM OBZ (tenfold higher than the amount frequently detected in the environment) exhibited low toxic effects. Accordingly, this pilot study provides information on the potential use of Cyperus to remove emerging sunscreen contaminants from water bodies.


Oxybenzone ROS H2O2 Antioxidative enzymes MDA GST 



We thank Mr. Michael Obermeier for his expertise on the IDRISI software. And thanks to Mr. Nik Dorndorf for his technical assistance. The manuscript was influenced by discussions in COST Action ES1202 Conceiving Wastewater Treatment in 2020-Energetic, environmental and economic challenges (Water_2020).

Funding information

Feiran Chen received funding from China Scholarship Council.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_1839_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.9 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 1956 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Helmholtz Zentrum München, GmbH, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Research Unit Microbiome AnalysisNeuherbergGermany
  2. 2.Humboldt UniversityBerlinGermany

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