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Environ Sci Technol. 2005 Jun 1;39(11):4141-9.

Modeling photoinduced algal toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

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  • 1UFZ Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig Halle, Permoserstrasse 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany. matthias.grote@ufz.de


The influence of light conditions on the toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to different organisms has long been recognized. The aim of this study was to investigate whether previously proposed models can be used to qualitatively and quantitatively predict photoinduced toxicity to the green algae Scenedesmus vacuolatus. For this purpose 14 different PAH compounds were tested under three different light conditions for their effects on the algae reproduction. Illumination conditions comprised standard algae growth light, simulated sunlight aiming to mimic environmental light conditions, and UV-filtered light in order to minimize light influence on PAH toxicity. Models proposed for the prediction of photoinduced toxicity were modified in order to account for different exposure conditions and toxic endpoints used in the bioassay. The results of this study show that the gap between the highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) and the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) proposed as an indication for photoinduced toxicity to Daphnia magna can be used as a qualitative indication of a potential photoinduced toxicity to the green algae Scenedesmus vacuolatus. The impact of light conditions on PAH toxicity can be quantified by a linear model which allows the estimation of the ED50 of each compound from the amount of absorbed photons and an empirically determined relative phototoxic efficacy value of the compound.

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