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Chemosphere. 2007 Jan;66(7):1346-52. Epub 2006 Sep 5.

Development of a biotic ligand model (BLM) predicting nickel toxicity to barley (Hordeum vulgare).

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


A biotic ligand model (BLM) was developed to predict nickel toxicity, affecting root growth of barley (Hordeum vulgare), in nutrient solutions. The extent to which Ca(2+), Mg(2+), Na(+), K(+) ions and pH each influenced nickel toxicity was determined. Higher activities of Mg(2+) linearly increased the 4d EC50 Ni (2+) , while Ca(2+), Na(+), K(+) and H(+) activities did not significantly influence Ni(2+) toxicity. Stability constants for the binding of Ni(2+) and Mg(2+) to the biotic ligand were obtained: logK(NiBL)=5.27 and logK(MgBL)=3.47. Further, it was calculated that on average 57% of the biotic ligand sites needed to be occupied by nickel to induce 50% root growth inhibition. Auto-validation of the BLM indicated that predicted EC50s differed from the observed EC50s by a factor of less than 2, indicating that the BLM concept may also be used to predict metal toxicity to terrestrial plants.

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