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Chemosphere. 2008 Mar;71(3):429-38. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2007.11.019. Epub 2008 Jan 10.

Characterizing the toxicity of pulsed selenium exposure to Daphnia magna.

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  • 1Clemson Institute of Environmental Toxicology, Department of Biological Sciences, Clemson University, Pendleton, SC 29670, USA. hoangt@fiu.edu


The acute toxicity of selenium (Se) to aquatic biota has been studied extensively for decades. However, most studies have used a constant concentration aqueous exposure of Se to an invertebrate species. Since constant concentration exposure of toxicants to invertebrates is unusual in the environment, episodic exposure or pulsed exposures may represent true risk to aquatic biota more accurately. This research was designed to characterize the toxicity effects of pulsed Se exposure to Daphnia magna. Selenium exposure was varied during a 21-d chronic toxicity test to examine the effects of exposure concentration, duration, and recovery on survival, growth, and reproduction of D. magna. While D. magna did not die during exposures, latent mortality was observed. Latent mortality increased with exposure concentration and duration. Hence, standard toxicity test using continuous exposures would underestimate Se toxicity. Risk assessment method using results of continuous exposure would underestimate risk of Se to biota. For double-pulse exposures, cumulative mortality on day 21 was higher when time interval between pulses was shorter. With the same total exposure time, continuous exposure caused higher toxicity than did pulsed exposures due to recovery and tolerance development in D. magna after earlier pulses. Growth and reproduction of surviving D. magna were not affected by pulsed Se exposure due to recovery of D. magna after removal of the pulses. Based on these results, risk assessment for Se should take latent effects and the effect of recovery in to account.

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