Metal mixture toxicity to aquatic biota in laboratory experiments: application of the WHAM-FTOX model

Tipping, E. ORCID:; Lofts, S. ORCID: 2013 Metal mixture toxicity to aquatic biota in laboratory experiments: application of the WHAM-FTOX model. Aquatic Toxicology, 142-143. 114-122.

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The WHAM-FTOXmodel describes the combined toxic effects of protons and metal cations towards aquaticorganisms through the toxicity function (FTOX), a linear combination of the products of organism-boundcation and a toxic potency coefficient (˛i) for each cation. Organism-bound, metabolically-active, cation isquantified by the proxy variable, amount bound by humic acid (HA), as predicted by the WHAM chemicalspeciation model. We compared published measured accumulations of metals by living organisms (bacte-ria, algae, invertebrates) in different solutions, with WHAM predictions of metal binding to humic acid inthe same solutions. After adjustment for differences in binding site density, the predictions were in rea-sonable line with observations (for logarithmic variables, r2= 0.89, root mean squared deviation = 0.44),supporting the use of HA binding as a proxy. Calculated loadings of H+, Al, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb and UO2wereused to fit observed toxic effects in 11 published mixture toxicity experiments involving bacteria, macro-phytes, invertebrates and fish. Overall, WHAM-FTOXgave slightly better fits than a conventional additivemodel based on solution concentrations. From the derived values of ˛i, the toxicity of bound cationscan tentatively be ranked in the order: H < Al < (Zn–Cu–Pb–UO2) < Cd. The WHAM-FTOXanalysis indicatesmuch narrower ranges of differences amongst individual organisms in metal toxicity tests than was pre-viously thought. The model potentially provides a means to encapsulate knowledge contained withinlaboratory data, thereby permitting its application to field situations.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Shore
ISSN: 0166-445X
Additional Keywords: aquatic organisms, chemical speciation, metals, toxicity, WHAM, WHAM-FTOX
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 01 Oct 2013 11:26 +0 (UTC)

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