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Aquat Toxicol. 2001 Dec 3;56(1):13-32.

Predicting the joint algal toxicity of multi-component s-triazine mixtures at low-effect concentrations of individual toxicants.

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  • 1Department of Biology and Chemistry, University of Bremen, P.O. Box 330440, D-28334, Bremen, Germany.

Abstract

Herbicidal s-triazines are widespread contaminants of surface waters. They are highly toxic to algae and other primary producers in aquatic systems. This results from their specific interference with photosynthetic electron transport. Risk assessment for aquatic biota has to consider situations of simultaneous exposure to various of these toxicants. In tests with freshwater algae we predicted and determined the toxicity of multiple mixtures of 18 different s-triazines. The toxicity parameter was the inhibition of reproduction of Scenedesmus vacuolatus. Concentration-response analyses were performed for single toxicants and for mixtures containing all 18 s-triazines in two different concentration ratios. Experiments were designed to allow a valid statistical description of the entire concentration-response relationships, including the low concentration range down to EC1. Observed effects and effect concentrations of mixtures were compared to predictions of mixture toxicity. Predictions were calculated from the concentration-response functions of individual s-triazines by applying the concepts of concentration addition and independent action (response addition) alternatively. Predictions based on independent action tend to underestimate the overall toxicity of s-triazine mixtures. In contrast, the concept of concentration addition provides highly accurate predictions of s-triazine mixture toxicity, irrespective of the effect level under consideration and the concentration ratio of the mixture components. This also holds true when the mixture components are present in concentrations below their individual NOEC values. Concentrations statistically estimated to elicit non-significant effects of only 1% still contribute to the overall toxicity. When present in a multi-component mixture they can co-operate to give a severe joint effect. Applicability of the findings obtained with s-triazines to mixtures of other contaminants in aquatic systems and consequences for risk assessment procedures are discussed.

PMID:
11690628
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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