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Aquat Toxicol. 2000 Dec;51(2):155-75.

Valve movement responses of Velesunio angasi (Bivalvia: Hyriidae) to manganese and uranium: an exception to the free ion activity model.

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Environment Division, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Private Mail Bag 1, NSW 2234, Menai, Australia.


The veracity of the free ion activity model (FIAM) was tested by examining the acute (48 h) valve movement responses (VMR) (measured in terms of the duration of valve opening) of the Australian tropical freshwater unionid bivalve, Velesunio angasi to increasing concentrations of total Mn or U, in a standard synthetic water under conditions of varying pH (5.0-6.0) and/or dissolved organic carbon (model fulvic acid, FA) concentrations (0-8.9 mg l(-1)). Valve movement behaviour, measured using an automated data acquisition system, was shown to be a quantifiable and rapid, real-time endpoint for assessing the toxic effects of Mn and U exposures. For Mn, the VMR of V. angasi were independent (P>0.05) of pH and/or model FA concentration. In contrast, VMR to U exposures were highly dependent (P< or =0.05) on pH and/or model FA concentration; individuals were more sensitive to U at low pH and model FA concentrations. Valve movement responses to Mn were directly proportional to the activity of the free metal ion (Mn(2+)), which is consistent with the FIAM. In contrast, VMR to U were regarded as an 'exception' to the FIAM, since they were a weighted function of the activities of the free metal ion and the 1:1 metal hydroxide species (i.e. 1.86 x UO2(2+) + UO2OH(+)). Additionally, the effect of U on V. angasi demonstrates the importance of examining VMR at more than one pH. At a fixed pH, the results for U were consistent with the FIAM (i.e. response was directly proportional to UO2(2+)); only when pH was altered, were the results inconsistent with the FIAM. The inconsistency in the VMR of V. angasi to U exposures in this study, together with similar examples from other studies using different metals (e.g. Al or Zn), raises questions regarding the veracity of the FIAM. A detailed examination of the conceptual development of the FIAM is required to probe its apparent failure to describe several metal-organism interactions.

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