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Water Sci Technol. 2007;55(5):23-31.

Daphnia behavioural responses to taste and odour compounds: ecological significance and application as an inline treatment plant monitoring tool.

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  • 1Environment Canada, Canadian Centre for Inland Waters, Burlington, ON, Canada.

Erratum in

  • Water Sci Technol. 2007;56(12):155-6.


Continuous monitoring of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in raw water is highly desirable for taste and odour management, but in most treatment plants this capacity is lacking. We used a bbe Daphnia toximeter installed in the Zurich water treatment plant to determine if Daphnia magna could be used to monitor odour compounds in source-water. Trace levels of two widely distributed biogenic VOCs in freshwater: P-cyclocitral and 2(E),4(E),7(Z)-decatrienal were added to the raw water inflow to chambers containing test animals and their behaviour was recorded using a high resolution camera. We observed that each compound elicited a marked short-term increase in Daphnia swimming velocity, but the effect was brief and an acclimation to the compounds was observed after a time period or with repeated additions. The results demonstrate that the toximeter has considerable potential as a tool to monitor certain VOCs in water, and that Daphnia perceive and react to 2(E),4(E),7(Z)-decatrienal and P-cyclocitral at concentrations between 2.5 and 25 microM.

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