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Environ Toxicol. 2004 Aug;19(4):359-64.

Spirotox-Spirostomum ambiguum acute toxicity test-10 years of experience.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Medical University of Warsaw, Banacha 1, str. 02-097, Warsaw, Poland.


Spirotox is a short-term acute toxicity test with a large ciliated protozoan Spirostomum ambiguum. The test was created in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Medical University of Warsaw, Poland, during the early 1990s. It was presented for the first time during the 6th International Symposium on Toxicity Assessment, in Berlin in 1993. S. ambiguum was very resistant to a wide range of environmental conditions, especially to pH and dissolved oxygen. Over the last 10 years the sensitivity of S. ambiguum to many classes of toxicants was evaluated. Spirotox was found to be very sensitive to heavy metals, fungicides, and pharmaceuticals used to cure diseases of the human nervous system. On the other hand, it was generally less sensitive than standard bioassays to simple organics. Spirotox was also used for analysis of cyanobacterial blooms. Though it was moderately sensitive to hepatotoxins, the test seems to be a good tool for evaluation of the entire toxicity of blooms. The last but not the least of the applications of the Spirotox test was evaluation of the toxicity of extracts from medical devices. Protozoa, which are the simplest eukaryotes, seem to be good screening bioassays for monitoring the technology of medical device production.

Copyright 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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