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Ecotoxicology. 2011 Jan;20(1):139-48. doi: 10.1007/s10646-010-0565-1. Epub 2010 Nov 17.

Performance of standard media in toxicological assessments with Daphnia magna: chelators and ionic composition versus metal toxicity.

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CESAM & Department of Biology, University of Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193, Aveiro, Portugal.


Fully artificial test media can increase reproducibility and standardization in ecotoxicological assessments, but there is still a lack of convergence among ecotoxicology laboratories in aquatic test media with respect to ionic composition, chelators, and organic supplements. We compared the performance of Daphnia magna in three widely-used reconstituted media. The tested media differed in composition: (a) ADaM, an artificial medium based in a synthetic sea salt, with no a priori known chelating properties; (b) ASTM hard water supplemented with algal extract, a semi-artificial medium with unknown chelating properties; and (c) M7, a complex artificial medium containing EDTA as a chelator. All three media were suitable for rearing D. magna (although performance in M7 was suboptimal) and acute EC(50) values for reference substances (3,4-DCA, K(2)Cr(2)O(7)) were similar between media. In acute exposures to Cu and Cd, daphniids were least sensitive when reared in M7, as expected due to metal chelation by EDTA. Daphnia sensitivity to Cd was low in ADaM. Thus, these two media were suboptimal for assessing the toxicity of some metals to D. magna in acute tests. We suggest that both the ionic composition of the medium and the presence of chelators should be taken into account when metal toxicity is concerned. Chronic toxicity profiles for Cu suggested a mild chelating effect of the algal extract in ASTM medium. Still, ASTM hard water persists as one of the most suitable media for acute toxicity assessments of metals and metal-contaminated samples.

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