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Environ Pollut. 1996;94(2):141-52.

Effects of the phenylurea herbicide isoproturon on periphytic diatom communities in freshwater indoor microcosms.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Ecotoxicologie, Université Bordeaux I/CNRS, Avenue des Facultés, 33405, Talence Cedex, France.


The toxic effects of the phenylurea herbicide Isoproturon -IPU: (3-(4-isopropylphenyl)-1, 1-dimethylurea)-were studied on the colonization of periphytic diatom communities, within indoor microcosms consisting of a mixed biotope (water column and natural sediment) and two biological species-rooted macrophyte cuttings (Elodea densa) and benthic bivalve molluscs (Corbicula fluminea). The periphyton, essentially composed of diatoms, was collected on artificial substrata (glass slides) in the upper layers of the water column, after two periods of exposure (34 and 71 days). IPU was initially added in the water or in the sediment compartment, at two nominal concentrations (L1 and L2 levels) for each contamination source-5 and 20 microg litre(-1) and 100 and 400 microg kg(-1) in sediment (w/w) respectively. The effects of IPU on the density and community structure of periphytic diatoms are described. A marked reduction in the diatom density was observed after 34 days exposure to the lower concentration of IPU in the water (5 microg litre(-1)). For the L2 levels, the very small number of live cells present did not permit quantification of the diatom density. After 71 days, recovery in community parameters occurred for the two contamination levels of the sediment and water column sources. Samples collected in the experimental units contaminated with the L2 levels were dominated by heterotrophic and smaller diatom species, such as Sellaphora seminulum. Data treatment based on factorial discriminant analysis enabled us to distinguish the different contamination conditions, with only 11 species from the 130 taxa identified.

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