Effect of algal food concentration on toxicity of two agricultural pesticides to Daphnia carinata

M. J. Barry, D. C. Logan, J. T. Ahokas, D. A. Holdway

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The effects of algal concentration (Selanastrum capricornatum) on the toxicity of the organochlorine pesticide endosulfan and the synthetic pyrethroid esfenvalerate to Daphnia carinata was investigated. The study progressed through four stages: (1) A dose- response experiment on the effects of endosulfan and esfenvalerate on the survival, growth, and reproduction of D. carinata at a single nonlimiting food level. (2) An experiment to investigate the effects of five different food concentrations on survival, growth, and reproduction of D. carinata at sublethal concentrations of endosulfan and esfenvalerate compared with nonexposed controls. (3) An experiment to investigate the effects of route of exposure (water, food-borne, or water + food-borne exposure) on the toxicity of endosulfan to D. carinata. (4) An experiment to investigate the effects of algal concentration on persistence of endosulfan in the water column and on the relative toxicity of the α and β isomers and of endosulfan sulfate to D. carinata. In the first experiment all daphnids exposed to 500 ng/liter esfenvalerate died within 3 days. There was a significant effect of esfenvalerate on reproduction at 50 ng/liter by the second brood. Endosulfan did not cause significant mortality to daphnids but brood size was reduced at 320 μg/liter. In the second experiment the toxicity of esfenvalerate increased significantly with decreasing food concentration. In contrast, the toxicity of endosulfan to D. carinata was greatest at the higher food concentrations. Direct water-borne exposure to endosulfan was the most toxic route of exposure and the presence of algae decreased toxicity of this pesticide. The total amount of endosulfan (α + β + endosulfan sulfate) persisting in the water column after 24 hr was greater at high food levels, suggesting that this may be one mechanism for increased toxicity at high food concentrations. The 48-hr LC50s of technical endosulfan, endosulfan sulfate, α-endosulfan, β- endosulfan, and a 50:50 mixture of α, and β endosulfan were 478, 756, 249, 205, and 234 μg/liter, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-279
Number of pages7
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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