Mixture toxicity and interactions of copper, nickel, cadmium, and zinc to barley at low effect levels: Something from nothing?Environ Toxicol Chem. 2016 10; 35(10):2483-2492.ET
Metal contamination is mostly a mixture of different metals, and these multicomponent mixtures can produce significant mixture effects. The present study was set up to investigate the toxicity of multiple metal mixtures of Cu, Ni, Cd, and Zn to plants at metal doses individually causing low-level phytotoxic effects. Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) root elongation toxicity tests were performed in resin-buffered nutrient solutions to control metal speciation. Treatments included single-metal concentrations and binary, ternary, and quaternary mixtures. Mixtures of different metals at free ion concentrations, each causing <10% inhibition of root elongation, yielded significant mixture effects, with inhibition reaching up to 50%. The independent action (IA) model predicted mixture toxicity statistically better than the concentration addition (CA) model, but some synergisms relative to the IA model were observed. These synergisms relative to IA were most pronounced in quaternary mixtures and when the dose-response curves had steep slopes. Generally, antagonistic interactions relative to the CA model were observed. Increasing solution Zn concentrations shifted metal interactions (CA based) from additive or slightly synergistic at background Zn concentrations to antagonistic at higher Zn concentrations, suggesting a protective effect of Zn. Overall, the present study shows that the CA model can be used as a conservative model to predict metal mixture toxicity to barley. Environ Toxicol Chem 2016;35:2483-2492. © 2016 SETAC.