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Environ Toxicol. 2001;16(4):314-20.

Effects of the organophosphorus insecticide fenitrothion on growth in five freshwater species of phytoplankton.

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  • 1Pesticide Laboratory, Department of Biotechnology, E.T.S.I.A., Polytechnic University of Valencia, Camino de Vera 14, 46022 Valencia, Spain.


The acute toxicity of the insecticide fenitrothion was measured using four freshwater algae (Chlorella saccharophila, Chlorella vulgaris, Scenedesmus acutus, and Scenedesmus subspicatus) and one cyanobacteria (Pseudanabaena galeata). Insecticide concentrations eliciting 50% growth reduction over 96 hr (EC50) ranged from 0.84 to 11.9 mg/L. Fenitrothion was more toxic than other pesticides studied with the same algal species such as chlorsulfuron, molinate, and pyridaphenthion. The transformation of effective concentrations of fenitrothion and other pesticides obtained from toxicity measurements into percent of the saturation level in water is used as a first evaluation of potential hazard to aquatic systems. The insecticides fenitrothion and pyridaphenthion were less hazardous than the herbicides atrazine, benthiocarb, cinosulfuron, chlorsulfuron, methyl-bensulfuron, and molinate. The two species of Chlorella and the cyanobacterium Pseudanabaena were more tolerant to fenitrothion than the two species of Scenedesmus.

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