An urgent need exists for incorporating heterocyclic compounds and (bio)transformation products in ecotoxicological test schemes and risk assessment of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs). The aim of the present study therefore was to determine the chronic effects of (heterocyclic) PACs on two terrestrial invertebrates, the springtail Folsomia candida and the enchytraeid Enchytraeus crypticus. The effects of 11 PACs were determined in chronic experiments using reproduction and survival as endpoints. The results demonstrated that as far as narcosis-induced mortality is concerned, effects of both homocyclic and heterocyclic PACs are well described by the relationship between estimated pore-water 50% lethal concentrations and log Kow. In contrast, specific effects on reproduction varied between species and between compounds as closely related as isomers, showing up as deviations from the relationship between pore-water 50% effect concentrations and log Kow. These unpredictable specific effects on reproduction force one to test the toxicity of these PACs to populations of soil invertebrates to obtain reliable effect concentrations for use in risk assessment of PACs.
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