Enantioselective biodegradation of fluoxetine by the bacterial strain Labrys portucalensis F11

Irina S. Moreira, Ana R. Ribeiro, Carlos M. Afonso, Maria E. Tiritan, Paula M. L. Castro*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Fluoxetine (FLX) is a chiral fluorinated pharmaceutical indicated mainly for the treatment of depression and is one of the most dispensed drugs in the world. There is clear evidence of environmental contamination with this drug and its active metabolite norfluoxetine (NFLX). In this study the enantioselective biodegradation of racemic FLX and of its enantiomers by Labrys portucalensis strain F11 was assessed. When 2. μM of racemic FLX was supplemented as sole carbon source, complete removal of both enantiomers, with stoichiometric liberation of fluoride, was achieved in 30. d. For racemic FLX concentration of 4 and 9. μM, partial degradation of the enantiomers was obtained. In the presence of acetate as an additional carbon source, at 4, 9 and 21. μM of racemic FLX and at 25. μM of racemic FLX, (S)-FLX or (R)-FLX, complete degradation of the two enantiomers occurred. At higher concentrations of 45 and 89. μM of racemic FLX, partial degradation was achieved. Preferential degradation of the (R)-enantiomer was observed in all experiments. To our knowledge, this is the first time that enantioselective biodegradation of FLX by a single bacterium is reported.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-111
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014


  • Biodegradation
  • Enantioselectivity
  • Fluoxetine
  • Labrys portucalensis


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