During the analysis of environmental risk posed by hazardous waste disposal sites, ecological impact on whole ecosystems should be assessed. It requires a complex testing scheme where surrogate species represent key elements of the ecosystem. However, different organisms are exposed to a differing degree, also, their sensitivity to the same contaminant may vary. A possible way to determine which test reflects most the actual toxic conditions, correlation can be calculated between the measured ecological parameter (such as growth inhibition, mortality, etc.) and a contaminant gradient. The basic aim of this study was to determine which ecotoxicological test shows the best correlation with the measured analytical parameters. The selected tests were Lemna minor (representing primary producers), Thamnocephalus platyurus (a primary consumer organism) and Vibrio fischeri (decomposer). When testing soil samples, the Thamnocephalus test showed excellent consistency with most contaminants but was oversensitive in the case of groundwater samples. The Vibrio fischeri bioluminescence inhibition test (ToxAlert) behaved in a different way, reflecting well the distribution of most contaminants in groundwater samples. Finally, Lemna test proved to be completely inadequate.
BS EN ISO 11348.3, Part 3 (1999) - Method Using Freeze-dried Bacteria. Anon. Infonorme London Information, Ascot, UK.
Blinova, I. (2001) Use of bioassays for toxicity assessment of polluted water. In: Proc. of Symposium 40th Anniversary of Institute of Environmental Engineering at Tallinn Technical University, Tallinn, pp. 149–154.
Blum, J. W., Speece, R. E. (1990) A Database of chemical toxicity to environmental bacteria and its use in interspecies comparisons. Environ. Sci. Technol. 24, 284–293.
Cairns, J. (1983) Are single species toxicity tests alone adequate for estimating environmental hazard? Hydrobiologia 100, 47–57.
Commission of the European Communities (2001) White Paper. Brussels.
Doherty, F. G. (2001) A review of the Microtox® toxicity test system for assessing the toxicity of sediments and soils. Water Quality Res. J. Canada 36, 475–518.
Galli, R., Munz, C. D., Scholtz, R. (1994) Evaluation and application of aquatic toxicity tests: use of the Microtox test for the prediction of toxicity based upon concentrations of contaminants in soil. Hydrobiologia 273, 179–189.
OECD Lemna sp. Growth inhibition test. Draft Guideline 221, July 2002.
Persoone, G. (1996) Report for the Workshop on the Joint Flemish-Czech Programme on Toxkit Microbiotests. In: FITA projects: Transfer of New Technology from Flanders to Countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Ghent, Belgium.
Rodrigue, D. (1996) Final Report: Comparison of Results from Alternative Acute Toxicity Tests with Rainbow Trout for Selected Mine Effluents. Canada Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology, Aquatic Effects Program. Ottawa. https://doi.org/www.nrcan.gc.ca/canmet-mtb/mmsl-emsm/factsheets/met-alsenvironment-e.pdf
Sprague, J. B. (1995) Review of Methods for Sublethal Aquatic Toxicity Tests Relevant to the Canadian Metal-mining Industry, and Design of Field Validation Programs. Report, Aquatic Effects Technology Evaluation Program, Salt Spring Island. https://doi.org/www.nrcan.gc.ca/canmet-mtb/mmsl-emsm/factsheets/metalsenvironment-e.pdf
Suter, G. W. (1996) Risk characterization for ecological risk assessment of contaminated sites. In: Ecological Risk Analysis: Guidance, Tools and Applications. Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, Inc., Tennessee. https://doi.org/www.esd.ornl.gov/programs/ecorisk/contaminated.html,ES/ER/TM-200.
Smrchek, J., Clements, R., Morcock, R., Rabert, W. (1993) Assessing ecological hazard under TSCA: methods and evaluation of data. In: Landis, W. G., Hughes, J. S., Landis, M. A. (eds) Environmental Toxicology and Risk Assessment. ASTM STP 1179. American Society for Testing and Materials, Philadelphia, pp. 22–39.
Symons, B. D., Sims, R. C. (1988) Assessing detoxification of a complex hazardous waste using the microtox bioassay. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 17, 497–505.
USEPA (1997) Ecological Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund: Process for Designing and Conducting Ecological Risk Assessments. EPA 540-R-97-006.
Worth, A., Balls, M. (2002) Alternative (non-animal) Methods for Chemical Testing: Current Status and Future Prospects. A report by ECVAM and the ECVAM Working Group on Chemicals. ECVAM, Institute for Health & Consumer Protection, EC JRC, Ispra.
About this article
Cite this article
Kováts, N., Füle, L., Magyar, I. et al. Sensitivity of Ecotoxicological Tests in Analysis of Superfund Sites. BIOLOGIA FUTURA 57, 211–220 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1556/ABiol.57.2006.2.8
- Hazardous waste disposal sites