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Toxic pressure of herbicides on microalgae in Dutch estuarine and coastal waters
Booij, P.; Sjollema, S.B.; van der Geest, H.G.; Leonards, P.E.G.; Lamoree, M.H.; de Voogt, P.; Admiraal, W.; Laane, R.W.P.M.; Vethaak, D. (2015). Toxic pressure of herbicides on microalgae in Dutch estuarine and coastal waters. J. Sea Res. 102: 48-56. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seares.2015.05.001
In: Journal of Sea Research. Elsevier/Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Amsterdam; Den Burg. ISSN 1385-1101; e-ISSN 1873-1414, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Marine/Coastal; Brackish water
Author keywords
    Toxic pressure; Chemical monitoring; Bioanalytical monitoring; Pulse Amplitude Modulation (PAM) fluorometry assay; Estuarine and coastal waters

Authors  Top 
  • Booij, P., more
  • Sjollema, S.B.
  • van der Geest, H.G.
  • Leonards, P.E.G., more
  • Lamoree, M.H., more
  • de Voogt, P., more
  • Admiraal, W.
  • Laane, R.W.P.M., more
  • Vethaak, D., more

    For several decades now, there has been an increase in the sources and types of chemicals in estuarine and coastal waters as a consequence of anthropogenic activities. This has led to considerable concern about the effects of these chemicals on the marine food chain. The fact is that estuarine and coastal waters are the most productive ecosystems with high primary production by microalgae. The toxic pressure of specific phytotoxic chemicals now poses a major threat to these ecosystems.In a previous study, six herbicides (atrazine, diuron, irgarol, isoproturon, terbutryn and terbutylazine) were identified as the main contaminants affecting photosynthesis in marine microalgae. The purpose of this study is to investigate the toxic pressure of these herbicides in the Dutch estuarine and coastal waters in relation to the effective photosystem II efficiency (FPSII) in microalgae. Temporal and spatial variations in the concentrations of these herbicides were analyzed based on monitoring data. Additionally, a field study was carried out in which chemical analysis of water was performed and also a toxicity assessment using the Pulse Amplitude Modulation (PAM) fluorometry assay that measures FPSII. The toxic pressure on FPSII in microalgae has decreased with 55–82% from 2003 to 2012, with the Western Scheldt estuary showing the highest toxic pressure. By combining toxicity data from the PAM assay with chemical analysis of herbicide concentrations, we have identified diuron and terbutylazine as the main contributors to the toxic pressure on microalgae. Although direct effects are not expected, the toxic pressure is close to the 10% effect level in the PAM assay. A compliance check with the current environmental legislation of the European Union revealed that the quality standards are not sufficient to protect marine microalgae.

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