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Flow cytometry and pigment analyses as tools to investigate the toxicity of herbicides to natural phytoplankton communities

Readman, J.W.; Devilla, R.A.; Tarran, G.; Llewellyn, C.A.; Fileman, T.W.; Easton, A.; Burkill, P.H.; Mantoura, R.F.C.. 2004 Flow cytometry and pigment analyses as tools to investigate the toxicity of herbicides to natural phytoplankton communities. Marine Environmental Research, 58 (2-5). 353-358.

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Abstract/Summary

Characterisation of natural phytoplanktonic communities is currently being advanced through flow cytometry and high resolution pigment analyses. To date, toxicological methods to assess impacts of herbicides on natural phytoplankton populations are lacking. Here, we report the novel use of these techniques in combination to study changes in phytoplankton populations exposed to 2-methylthio-4-tertiary-butylamino-6-cyclopropylaminos-triazine (Irgarol 1051), a herbicide used in antifouling paints. Flow cytometry results revealed that following a 72-h exposure to approximately 100 ng L -1, eukaryote abundance was less than half that in the controls. High performance liquid chromatographic analyses of pigments demonstrated that 190-hexanoyloxyfucoxanthin was selectively lost relative to the control. This carotenoid is specific to the prymnesiophytes which are key constituents of phytoplanktonic communities within temperate marine waters. Values of EC50 (72 h) as low as 70 ng L -1 were calculated from the selective reduction in this compound. Concentrations substantially exceeding this level have been reported in UK and other European coastal waters.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Date made live: 13 Oct 2004 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/109864

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