Holistic approach to pollution

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.

Media Contact

Jim Corlett alfa

More Information:

http://www.inderscience.com

All latest news from the category: Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

This complex theme deals primarily with interactions between organisms and the environmental factors that impact them, but to a greater extent between individual inanimate environmental factors.

innovations-report offers informative reports and articles on topics such as climate protection, landscape conservation, ecological systems, wildlife and nature parks and ecosystem efficiency and balance.

Back to home

Comments (0)

Write a comment

Newest articles

Machine learning algorithm reveals long-theorized glass phase in crystal

Scientists have found evidence of an elusive, glassy phase of matter that emerges when a crystal’s perfect internal pattern is disrupted. X-ray technology and machine learning converge to shed light…

Mapping plant functional diversity from space

HKU ecologists revolutionize ecosystem monitoring with novel field-satellite integration. An international team of researchers, led by Professor Jin WU from the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Hong…

Inverters with constant full load capability

…enable an increase in the performance of electric drives. Overheating components significantly limit the performance of drivetrains in electric vehicles. Inverters in particular are subject to a high thermal load,…

Partners & Sponsors