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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 1994 Jul;28(2):160-71.

Photoinduced toxicity of three polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (fluoranthene, pyrene, and naphthalene) to the duckweed Lemna gibba L. G-3.

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Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.


The authors recently demonstrated that light dramatically enhances the hazards of three polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), anthracene, phenanthrene, and benzo[a]pyrene, to the duckweed Lemna gibba L. G-3 (X.-D. Huang, D. G. Dixon, and B. M. Greenberg, 1993, Environ. Toxicol. Chem., 12, 1067-1077). To extend this research, growth and chlorosis were used as end points to assess the photoinduced toxicity of three additional PAHs, fluoranthene, pyrene, and naphthalene, to L. gibba in the presence of simulated solar radiation (a light source with a UV-B: UV-A:visible light ratio equivalent to that of sunlight). The phytotoxicity of these three PAHs was photoactivated, with ultraviolet radiation being the only spectral region that enhanced the harmful effects of the chemicals. Dose-response curves based on chemical concentration and light intensity revealed that the order of phytotoxic strength was fluoranthene > pyrene > naphthalene. To explore whether photomodification (in addition to photosensitization) of fluoranthene, pyrene, and naphthalene could contribute to photoinduced toxicity, the chemicals were irradiated prior to (as opposed to simultaneously with) application to the plans. The rates of photomodification of the three PAHs were rapid enough for the photooxidized compounds to contribute to toxicity, and the photomodified PAHs were more toxic than the parent compounds. As well, toxicity could be correlated to photomodification; impacts increased in parallel with the extent of photomodification.

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