, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 183-201

Biological effects of surface active agents on marine animals

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The biological effects of 5 surface active agents (the anionic ABS, LAS and LES 3 EO and the nonionic NP 10 EO and TAE 10 EO) on marine fishes, crustaceans and bivalves have been tested in, continuous-flow systems. Concentrations from 100 to 0.5 ppm were normally used. Fishes were found to be more susceptible (96 hLC 50 range: 0.8 to 6.5 ppm) than bivalves (96 hLC50 range: 5 to >100 ppm) while crustaceans were considerably more resistant (96 h LC 50 range: 25 to > 100 ppm). Within each of these 3 systematic groups, more active species were found to be more sensitive than less active species. Developmental stages were also more sensitive than adults. The resistance of crustaceans to surfactants decreases immediately after moulting. The most toxic agent for fishes and decapods was the “soft” anionic LAS, and for bivalves and barnacles the “hard” nonionic NP 10 EO. Ability to recover normal behaviour after exposure decreases with increasing concentration and time, and ceases earlier in anionic than in nonionic surfactants. The first reaction to the surfactants is increased activity (avoidance reaction of mobile species), followed successively by inactivation, immobilization and death. Nonionic surfactants affect the equilibrium in fishes. Sublethal effects appear as impaired locomotory activity and breathing rate in fishes and crustaceans, impaired byssus activity and shell closure in Mytilus edulis, burrowing in Cardium edule, Astarte montagui and Astarte sulcata. Siphon retraction is affected in Mya arenaria and Cardium edule, as is also the response to food of the Leander spp.

Communicated by B. Swedmark, Fiskebäckskil