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Aquat Toxicol. 2006 May 25;77(4):393-401. Epub 2006 Feb 2.

Mechanisms of chronic waterborne Zn toxicity in Daphnia magna.

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Ghent University, Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology and Aquatic Ecology, J. Plateaustraat 22, B-9000 Gent, Belgium.


In order to gain better insights in the integrated response of Daphnia magna following chronic zinc exposure, several physiological parameters were measured in a time-dependent manner. D. magna juveniles were exposed for 21 days to dissolved Zn concentrations up to 340 microg/L. Next to standard endpoints such as mortality, growth and reproduction the following sub-lethal endpoints were measured: filtration and ingestion rate, respiration rate, energy reserves, internal Zn and total Ca concentrations in the organisms. Organisms exposed to 80 microg/L generally performed better than the Zn deprived control organisms. The former were used to elucidate the effects of higher Zn concentrations on the endpoints mentioned above. After 1 week, only 7% of the organisms exposed to 340 microg/L survived. Body Zn contents of these organisms were 281 +/- 76 microg g dry weight and a 37% decrease of the Ca contents was observed. This suggests a competitive effect of Zn on Ca uptake. Filtration rate (-51%), individual weight (-58%) and energy reserves (-35%) also exhibited a decreasing trend as a function of increasing Zn exposure concentrations. During the second and third exposure week an overall repair process was observed. In the surviving organisms mortality and reproduction were only slightly affected. This can be explained by (over)compensation reactions at lower levels of biological organisation: Ca contents (+24%) and filtration rate (+90%) increased as a function of the exposure concentration while respiration rate decreased (-29%) resulting in energy reserves remaining constant as a function of Zn exposure. It is hypothesized that a disturbed Ca balance is probably the first cause for zinc toxicity effects in D. magna.

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