Influence of salinity and dissolved organic carbon on acute Cu toxicity to the rotifer Brachionus plicatilis

Christopher A. Cooper, Tara Tait, Holly Gray, Giselle Cimprich, Robert C. Santore, James C. McGeer, Christopher M. Wood, D. Scott Smith

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22 Scopus citations


Acute copper (Cu) toxicity tests (48-h LC50) using the euryhaline rotifer Brachionus plicatilis were performed to assess the effects of salinity (3, 16, 30 ppt) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC, ∼1.1, ∼3.1, ∼4.9, ∼13.6 mg C L-1) on Cu bioavailability. Total Cu was measured using anodic stripping voltammetry, and free Cu2+ was measured using ion-selective electrodes. There was a protective effect of salinity observed in all but the highest DOC concentrations; at all other DOC concentrations the LC50 value was significantly higher at 30 ppt than at 3 ppt. At all salinities, DOC complexation significantly reduced Cu toxicity. At higher concentrations of DOC the protective effect increased, but the increase was less than expected from a linear extrapolation of the trend observed at lower concentrations, and the deviation from linearity was greatest at the highest salinity. Light-scattering data indicated that salt induced colloid formation of DOC could be occurring under these conditions, thereby decreasing the number of available reactive sites to complex Cu. When measurements of free Cu across DOC concentrations at each individual salinity were compared, values were very similar, even though the total Cu LC50 values and DOC concentrations varied considerably. Furthermore, measured free Cu values and predicted model values were comparable, highlighting the important link between the concentration of bioavailable free Cu and Cu toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1213-1221
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 21 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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