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Environ Toxicol Chem. 2003 Mar;22(3):627-35.

Effects of sublethal concentrations of atrazine and nitrate on metamorphosis of the African clawed frog.

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Department of Biological Sciences, 1845 N. Fairmount, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas 67260-0026, USA.


Tadpoles of the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) were exposed to sublethal concentrations of atrazine (0, 40, and 320 microg/L) and nitrate (0, 37, and 292 mg/L) from feeding stage to metamorphosis. A 3 x 3 factorial design was used to identify both single and interactive effects. At metamorphosis, tadpole weight, snout-vent length (SVL), and hematocrit were determined. Mean mortality was greater in tanks receiving 320 microg/L atrazine; nitrate had no effect on mortality. Significant differences for all mean traits at metamorphosis occurred among atrazine treatments; higher atrazine exposure increased time to metamorphosis and decreased weight, SVL, and hematocrit. Nitrate treatments were not significantly different. Significant interaction tests between atrazine and nitrate occurred for weight and SVL at metamorphosis; the specific type of interaction varied among treatments. Assuming an additive mixture model, at low atrazine (40 microg/L), the addition of 37 mg/L nitrate produced SVL values less than expected (a synergistic effect) while the addition of 292 mg/L nitrate yielded SVL values greater than expected (an antagonistic effect). A similar response was noted for tadpoles in the 320-microg/L atrazine treatments. These results indicate that environmentally realistic concentrations of atrazine exert a negative impact on amphibian metamorphosis. Also, this study suggests that mixtures of agricultural chemicals, even if sublethal, may exert negative and not necessarily consistent mixture effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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