Influence of dissolved organic matter on acute toxicity of zinc to larval fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas).Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2006 Oct; 51(3):438-44.AE
We conducted laboratory toxicity tests in support of the development of a biotic ligand model (BLM) to predict acute toxicity of zinc (Zn) to fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). To test the effect of dissolved organic matter (DOM) on Zn toxicity, we exposed larval fathead minnows to Zn in water containing elevated concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in 96-h static-renewal toxicity tests. We tested DOM isolated from four surface waters: Cypress Swamp, Delaware; Edisto River, South Carolina; Suwannee River, Georgia; and Wilmington, Delaware, wastewater treatment effluent. The DOM isolates from the Edisto River and Wilmington wastewater treatment effluent contained elevated concentrations of NaCl (20-110x control NaCl) due to the use of a Na+-exchange resin to remove Ca2+ and Mg2+ during the DOM isolation process. Therefore, we also performed Zn toxicity tests in which we added up to 20 mM NaCl to exposure solutions containing Cypress Swamp and Suwannee River DOM. A threshold concentration of 11 mg DOC/L was needed to decrease Zn toxicity, after which the 96 h Zn LC50 was positively correlated with DOC concentration. Elevated NaCl concentrations did not alter Zn toxicity in the presence of DOM. In conjunction with data from other studies with fish and invertebrates, results of this study were used to calibrate Version 2.1.1 of the Zn BLM. BLM-predicted LC50s for our exposure waters containing elevated DOM concentrations were within the range of acceptable deviation relative to the observed LC50s (i.e., 0.5-2x observed LC50s); however, BLM-predicted LC50s for our exposure waters containing < 1 mg DOC/L were 2-3x lower than the observed LC50s (i.e., the BLM over-predicted the toxicity). Therefore, the current composite-species BLM for Zn could be improved for fathead minnows if that species were modeled separately from the other species used to calibrate Version 2.1.1.