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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 1998 Mar;39(3):227-32.

The acute toxicity of selected alkylphenols to young and adult Daphnia magna.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Toxicology, TNO-Toxicology, Delft, The Netherlands.


Differences in sensitivity toward toxicants between young and adult individuals in a population are assumed to be primarily associated with their difference in body size. This assumption plays a key role in the modeling of effects of variable concentrations of toxicants on nonhomogeneous populations. The hazard-based no-effect-concentrations (NECs), killing rates, and elimination rates, estimated from the survival data of a series of acute toxicity tests with young and adults of Daphnia magna and six alkylphenols, were used to evaluated this assumption. The results lead to the conclusion that young and adult D. magna were equally sensitive in terms of NEC and killing rate and that the observed differences in elimination rates could be explained on the basis of a difference in body size. Furthermore, it was found that elimination rates estimated on the basis of the survival data were consistently smaller than those expected on the basis of a QSAR for Daphnia pulex, a comparable species. This discrepancy was likely due to a decreased uptake and elimination during a period of immobilization prior to death. Since it is unknown to what extent immobilized individuals are able to recover from short-term exposures, the observed deviation clearly identifies a complicating factor in the modeling of effects of variable concentrations of toxicants.

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