Interactions of Cd, Cr, Pb, Ni, and Hg in their effects on activated sludge bacteria by using two analytical methods

  • Ayat Rahmani
  • Anvar Asadi
  • Ali Fatehizadeh
  • Abdol Rasool Rahmani
  • Mohammad Reza ZareEmail author


Since trace metals rarely appear singly in industrial effluents, it is a major challenge to address combined effects of such toxicants on biological units of wastewater treatment plants. The aim of this study was interaction assessment of Cd, Cr, Pb, Ni, and Hg in their effects on activated sludge bacteria using analytical methods. Two mathematical models were used to determine the effect of binary mixtures of Hg, Cd, Cr, Pb, and Ni on activated sludge bacteria using a dehydrogenase enzyme assay. Calculated EC50 values were compared to experimentally observed values of mixtures. Interactive effects were counted to be antagonistic for Hg and Cd, Cd and Pb, Cd and Ni, and Cr and Pb, synergistic for Cd and Cr and Hg and Cr, and additive for other binary mixtures. Maximum toxicity was related to Hg and Cr, Cd and Cr, and Hg and Cd. Physicochemical monitoring of single metals may underestimate hazards arising from these pollutants in environmental samples. Therefore, any possible interaction between metals in such environments should be considered when establishing environmental safety standards.


Toxicity EC50 Modeling Synergistic 


Funding information

This study has been performed with the financial support from the Environment Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran, Project No. 2422-22.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center for Health Sciences and TechnologiesSemnan University of Medical SciencesSemnanIran
  2. 2.Research Center for Environmental Determinants of HealthKermanshah University of Medical SciencesKermanshahIran
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of HealthIsfahan University of Medical SciencesIsfahanIran
  4. 4.Department of Occupational Health Engineering, School of HealthLarestan University of Medical SciencesLarestanIran
  5. 5.Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of HealthLarestan University of Medical SciencesLarestanIran

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