Studies of industrial effluent toxicity usually focus on a single contaminant, such as an environmental or marine pollutant, a potential carcinogen, or a toxic heavy metal. However, according to Tatjana Tišler of the National Institute of Chemistry, in Ljubljana, and Jana Zagorc-Koncan of the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, toxicity tests of effluent using bacteria generally underestimate the total toxicity.
Effluents from industrial or municipal sources may contain hundreds to thousands of chemicals, but only a few are responsible for aquatic toxicity. Simply adding together the individual toxicities of each chemical present is not a reliable way to predict the total toxicity of effluent, the researchers say. An underestimation of whole-effluent toxicity could have seriously detrimental effects on the marine environment.
The researchers point out that the prediction of waste water toxicity usually does not take into account any possible interactions between the compounds in the wastewater sample. The presence of a particular chemical may make another more easily absorbed by aquatic creatures or plants, for instance. Moreover, some highly toxic chemicals may go undetected in a complex waste water mixture.
By testing waste water samples from a tannery, a pharmaceutical plant, and a chemical factory, the researchers were able to demonstrate the presence of key toxic chemicals in the samples and their toxic effects on bacteria, algae, daphnids and fish. Their tests demonstrated a higher toxicity of the whole sample compared with tests carried out on individual pollutants. "Our results obtained clearly demonstrate the importance of using the ‘whole-effluent’ toxicity approach for a reliable assessment of wastewater quality," the researchers say.
Jim Corlett | alfa
Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
26.06.2017 | Life Sciences
26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.06.2017 | Information Technology