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Keywords:

  • Metals;
  • Geraniol;
  • Benzo[a]pyrene;
  • Oppia nitens;
  • Hormesis

Abstract

The oribatid mite Oppia nitens has been suggested as a test species for ecotoxicological assessment of contaminated boreal soils. Knowledge of the ecotoxicity of pollutants of different modes of action to this species is necessary to assess its relative sensitivity in comparison with other invertebrates. The toxicity of four metals and two organic chemicals to O. nitens was evaluated over a 28- or 35-d period. Mite survival, reproduction, and tissue accumulation were assessed at the end of the test. Reproduction was a more sensitive endpoint than survival for all of the compounds except geraniol. The reproduction median inhibitory concentration (IC50) values for Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb were 2,896, 1,562, 137, and 1,678 mg/kg, respectively, whereas those for benzo[a]pyrene and geraniol were greater than 1,600 and 283 mg/kg. The median lethal concentration (LC50) values for Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb were 3,311, 2,291, 603, and 6,761 mg/kg, respectively, whereas those for benzo[a]pyrene and geraniol were greater than 1,600 and 251 mg/kg. When effects on reproduction are compared with those of other soil invertebrates, O. nitens appears less sensitive to Cu and Zn but within the same order of magnitude of sensitivity as that for Cd and Pb. Despite its lower sensitivity to Cu and Zn, O. nitens is a member of a group underrepresented in ecotoxicological evaluations and should therefore be included in test battery for risk assessment of contaminated boreal and other northern soils. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2012; 31: 1639–1648. © 2012 SETAC