Influence of nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations and ratios on Lemna gibba growth responses to triclosan in laboratory and stream mesocosm experiments

Authors

  • Barry A. Fulton,

    1. Department of Environmental Science, Baylor University, One Bear Place 97266, Waco, Texas 76798, USA
    2. Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research, Baylor University, One Bear Place 97348, Waco, Texas 76798, USA
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  • Richard A. Brain,

    1. Department of Environmental Science, Baylor University, One Bear Place 97266, Waco, Texas 76798, USA
    2. Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research, Baylor University, One Bear Place 97348, Waco, Texas 76798, USA
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  • Sascha Usenko,

    1. Department of Environmental Science, Baylor University, One Bear Place 97266, Waco, Texas 76798, USA
    2. Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research, Baylor University, One Bear Place 97348, Waco, Texas 76798, USA
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  • Jeffrey A. Back,

    1. Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research, Baylor University, One Bear Place 97348, Waco, Texas 76798, USA
    2. Department of Biology, Baylor University, One Bear Place 97388, Waco, Texas 76798, USA
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  • Ryan S. King,

    1. Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research, Baylor University, One Bear Place 97348, Waco, Texas 76798, USA
    2. Department of Biology, Baylor University, One Bear Place 97388, Waco, Texas 76798, USA
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  • Bryan W. Brooks

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Environmental Science, Baylor University, One Bear Place 97266, Waco, Texas 76798, USA
    2. Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research, Baylor University, One Bear Place 97348, Waco, Texas 76798, USA
    • Department of Environmental Science, Baylor University, One Bear Place 97266, Waco, Texas 76798, USA
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  • Published on the Web 4/23/2009.

Abstract

The effects of co-occurring nutrient and contaminant stressors are very likely to interact in aquatic systems, particularly at the level of primary producers. Site-specific nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) concentrations are often much lower and differ in relative availability than those used in nutrient-saturated laboratory assays for aquatic plants, which can introduce uncertainty in prospective ecological hazard and risk assessments. Because triclosan, an antimicrobial agent included in personal care products, potentially presents high relative risk among antimicrobial agents to aquatic plants and algae, we performed laboratory experiments with the model aquatic macrophyte Lemna gibba across a gradient of environmentally relevant N:P levels with and without triclosan co-exposure. Frond numbers (7 d) were significantly higher in N:P treatments of 16 and 23 but were lower in N:P of 937 and 2,500 treatments relative to standardized control media (N:P = 3). When triclosan co-exposure occurred at high nutrient concentrations, frond number median effective concentration values at N:P 0.75, 3, and 16 were more than twofold lower than triclosan median effective concentration values in low nutrient media N:P ratios. However, a triclosan median effective concentration for frond number was twofold lower at N:P of 2,500 than at other N:P ratios in low concentration media. Influences of P enrichment on triclosan toxicity to L. gibba were further explored during a 14-d outdoor experimental stream mesocosm study. Effects of 2.6 and 20.8 μg L−1 triclosan on L. gibba growth rates were more pronounced with increasing P treatment levels, which was generally consistent with our laboratory observations. Findings from these laboratory and field studies indicate that site-specific nutrient concentrations and ratios should be considered during assessments of primary producer responses to chemical stressors.

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