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

Influence of water quality and age on nickel toxicity to fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas).

This research characterized the effects of water quality and organism age on the toxicity of nickel (Ni) to fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) to facilitate the accurate development of site-specific water-quality criteria. Nickel sulfate hexahydrate (NiSO4 x 6H2O) was used as the Ni source for performing acute toxicity tests (median lethal concentration after 96-h exposure [96-h LC50]) with < 1-d-old and 28-d-old P. promelas under varying regimes of hardness, pH, alkalinity, and natural organic matter (NOM). The toxicity of Ni was inversely related to water hardness between hardness values of 20 and 150 mg/L (as CaCO3). Below 30 mg/L alkalinity, Ni toxicity was related to alkalinity. The effect of pH was confounded by hardness and the presence of NOM. In the absence of NOM, the toxicity of Ni increased as pH increased at high hardness and alkalinity. In general, 28-d-old fish were less sensitive than < 1-d-old fish to Ni. This lower sensitivity ranged from 12-fold at low hardness and alkalinity (20 and 4 mg/L, respectively) to 5-fold at high hardness and alkalinity (100 and 400 mg/L, respectively). The presence of NOM (10 mg/L as dissolved organic carbon [DOC]) reduced Ni toxicity by up to 50%, but this effect appeared to be saturated above DOC at 5 mg/L. Incubating Ni with the NOM solution from 1 to 17 days had no effect on Ni toxicity. When using multivariate analysis, the 96-h LC50 for Ni was a function of fish age, alkalinity, hardness, and NOM (96-h LC50 = -0.642 + 0.270(fish age) + 0.005(alkalinity) + 0.018(hardness) + 0.138(DOC)). When using this model, we found a strong relationship between measured and predicted 96-h LC50 values (r2 = 0.94) throughout the treatment water qualities. The biotic ligand model (BLM) did not accurately predict Ni toxicity at high or low levels of alkalinity. Results of our research suggest that the BLM could be improved by considering NiCO3 to be bioavailable.[1]


  1. Influence of water quality and age on nickel toxicity to fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). Hoang, T.C., Tomasso, J.R., Klaine, S.J. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. (2004) [Pubmed]
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