Phytotoxicities of Selected Chemicals and Industrial Effluents to Nitellopsis obtusa Cells, Assessed by Using a Rapid Electrophysiological Charophyte Test

Levonas Manusadzianas, Rimantas Vitkus, Ralf Pörtner and Herbert Märkl

The acute phytotoxicities of seven heavy metals (Cd2+, Cu2+, Hg2+, Ni2+, Zn2+, Cr6+ and Co2+), three phenolic compounds (phenol, 3,5-dichlorophenol and pentachlorophenol) and nine industrial effluents were appraised by using a rapid electrophysiological test with cells of the charophyte, Nitellopsis obtusa. The EC50 values (concentrations causing a 50% decrease in resting potential) obtained for reference chemicals were compared with those of five microbiotests (Polytox®, Microtox®, Selenastrum capricornutum growth inhibition, Daphnia magna immobilisation and Rotoxkit FTM) taken from the scientific literature. The 45-minute charophyte test, the freshwater Algaltoxkit FTM, Daphtoxkit FTM and Rotoxkit FTM were conducted simultaneously to assess the toxicities of effluents. The Toxkit microbiotests were typically two orders of magnitude more sensitive than the electrophysiological charophyte test to pure chemicals. The electrophysiological charophyte test was generally more sensitive than the Toxkit microbiotests to complex effluents. The rapid electrophysiological test, employing the 45- minute membrane depolarisation of N. obtusa cells as an endpoint, demonstrated similar sensitivity to heavy metals and phenolic compounds as the 20-minute bacterial Polytox® test, but less sensitivity than the 15-minute Microtox® test. Therefore, this rapid macroalgal test appears to be valuable as a sublethal toxicity screening tool for effluents.
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Study of the Environmental Hazard Caused by the Oil Shale Industry Solid Waste

Lee Põllumaa, Alla Maloveryan, Marina Trapido, Helgi Sillak and Anne Kahru

The environmental hazard was studied of eight soil and solid waste samples originating from a region of Estonia heavily polluted by the oil shale industry. The samples were contaminated mainly with oil products (up to 7231mg/kg) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs; up to 434mg/kg). Concentrations of heavy metals and water-extractable phenols were low. The toxicities of the aqueous extracts of solid-phase samples were evaluated by using a battery of Toxkit tests (involving crustaceans, protozoa, rotifers and algae). Waste rock and fresh semi-coke were classified as of “high acute toxic hazard”, whereas aged semi-coke and most of the polluted soils were classified as of “acute toxic hazard”. Analysis of the soil slurries by using the photobacterial solid-phase flash assay showed the presence of particle-bound toxicity in most samples. In the case of four samples out of the eight, chemical and toxicological evaluations both showed that the levels of PAHs, oil products or both exceeded their respective permitted limit values for the living zone (20mg PAHs/kg and 500mg oil products/kg); the toxicity tests showed a toxic hazard. However, in the case of three samples, the chemical and toxicological hazard predictions differed markedly: polluted soil from the Erra River bank contained 2334mg oil/kg, but did not show any water-extractable toxicity. In contrast, spent rock and aged semi-coke that contained none of the pollutants in hazardous concentrations, showed adverse effects in toxicity tests. The environmental hazard of solid waste deposits from the oil shale industry needs further assessment.
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The Use of Bioassays for the Risk Assessment of Toxic Leachates: An Experimental Study

Natalya Irha and Irina Blinova

Solid wastes from the oil-shale industry produce leachates containing toxic compounds such as heavy metals and persistent polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). The hazard to the environment represented by waste leachates depends not only on their chemical composition, but also on the mobility and bioavailability of toxic contaminants in soils. We evaluated the applicability of bioassays for toxicity assessment of the bioavailable fraction of heavy metals and PAH in soils, in experiments with samples of four different soil types (Rendzina, Brown pseudopodzolic, Typical brown, Sodpodzolic), the pH of which ranged from 6.2 to 7.2. The toxicity of the bioavailable fraction of the soil contaminants was assessed with the dehydrogenase enzyme activity assay, and with a Toxkit microbiotest with the crustacean, Thamnocephalus platyurus, after treatment of the soil samples with an artificial solution containing chromium (III), lead (II),
copper (II), cadmium (II) and pyrene. The test results confirm those of earlier experiments, which characterised the sorption potential of investigated soils for the same compounds. Both tests turned out to be sufficiently sensitive, and hence can be recommended as effective and useful tools for the assessment of the bioavailable fraction of soil contaminants.
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