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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Combined toxicity effects of MTBE and pesticides measured with Vibrio fischeri and Daphnia magna bioassays.

Methyl-tert-butyl ether (MTBE), a fuel oxygenate that is added to gasoline, commonly contaminates aquatic systems, many of which are already contaminated with pesticides. The toxic effects (EC(50) value) of several pure pesticides (Diuron, Linuron, Dichlofluanid, Sea nine, Irgarol and tributyltin (TBT)) were measured and compared with the EC(50) value of the pesticide mixed with MTBE, using the Vibrio fischeri and Daphnia magna acute toxicity assays. The interaction between chemicals was evaluated in terms of the effects of mixing on the EC(50) value (i.e. the concentration (mg/L) of a compound or mixture that is required to produce a 50% change in a toxic response parameter) and the time required to generate the toxic response. Presence of MTBE enhanced the EC(50) value of several pesticides (Diuron, Dichlofluanid, TBT and Linuron) and/or the toxic response manifested more rapidly than with pure pesticides. Toxicity enhancements were quite substantial in many cases. For example, the presence of MTBE increased the toxicity of Diuron by more than 50% when tested with the V. fischeri assay (5, 15 and 30 min exposure). Also, the toxic response manifested itself within 5 min whereas without the MTBE the same response arose in 30 min. Presence of MTBE increased the toxicity of Dichlofluanid by 30% when measured with the D. magna assay. Toxicities of only two pesticides (Sea nine and Irgarol) were not raised by the presence of MTBE.[1]


  1. Combined toxicity effects of MTBE and pesticides measured with Vibrio fischeri and Daphnia magna bioassays. Hernando, M.D., Ejerhoon, M., Fernández-Alba, A.R., Chisti, Y. Water Res. (2003) [Pubmed]
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