A weakness of standard testing procedures is that they do not consider interactions between organisms, and they focus only on single species. Furthermore, these procedures do not take into account pulse exposure. However, pulse exposure is of particular importance because in streams, after crop application and during and after precipitation, herbicide concentrations fluctuate widely and can exceed the Annual Average Environmental Quality Standards (AA-EQS), which aim to protect the aquatic environment. The sensitivity of the algae Scenedesmus vacuolatus and Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata in a co-culture exposed to pulses is thus analysed in this study. As a first step, the growths of the algae in co-culture are investigated. For initial cell densities fixed, respectively, to 100,000 and 50,000 cells/mL, the growth of each alga is exponential over at least 48 h. S. vacuolatus seems to influence the growth of P. subcapitata negatively. Allelopathy is a possible explanation for this growth inhibition. The toxicity of the herbicide isoproturon is later tested on the algae S. vacuolatus and P. subcapitata cultured alone and in the co-culture. Despite the supplementary stress on the algae in the co-culture competing for nutrients, the toxicity of the herbicide is lower for the two algae when they are in the co-culture than when they are in separated culture. A model is adapted and used to predict the cell-density inhibition on the alga S. vacuolatus in the co-culture with the alga P. subcapitata exposed to a pulse concentration of isoproturon. Four laboratory experiments are performed to validate the model. The comparison between the laboratory and the modelled effects shows good agreement. The differences can be considered minor most of time. For future studies, it is important to ensure that the cell count is precise, as it is used to determine the parameters of the model. The differences can be also induced by the fact that the cell number of the alga P. subcapitata re-suspended in a new OECD medium after the centrifugation process cannot be fixed.
Ecotoxicology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 12, 2017
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