Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 335-345

First online:

Effects of Three Antifouling Agents on Algal Communities and Algal Reproduction: Mixture Toxicity Studies with TBT, Irgarol, and Sea-Nine

  • Åsa ArrheniusAffiliated withBotanical Institute, Göteborg University Email author 
  • , Thomas BackhausAffiliated withDepartment of Biology and Chemistry, University of Bremen
  • , Frederick GrönvallAffiliated withBotanical Institute, Göteborg University
  • , Marion JunghansAffiliated withDepartment of Biology and Chemistry, University of Bremen
  • , Martin ScholzeAffiliated withCentre for Toxicology, The School of Pharmacy
  • , Hans BlanckAffiliated withBotanical Institute, Göteborg University

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The toxicity of three antifoulants (Sea-Nine, Irgarol, and TBT) was determined individually and in mixtures in two tests with microalgae. Effects on periphyton community photosynthesis and reproduction of the unicellular green algae Scenedesmus vacuolatus were investigated. The tested antifoulants were highly toxic in both tests. Observed mixture toxicities were compared with predictions derived from two concepts: Independent Action (IA), assumed to be more relevant for the tested mixtures that were composed of dissimilarly acting substances, and Concentration Addition (CA), regarded as a reasonable worst-case approach in predictive mixture hazard assessment. Despite the corresponding mechanistic basis, IA failed to provide accurate predictions of the observed mixture toxicities. Results show the same pattern in both assays. Mixture effects at high concentrations were slightly overestimated and effects at low concentrations were slightly underestimated. Maximum observed deviations between observed and IA-predicted concentrations amount to a factor of 4. The suggested worst-case approach using CA was protective only in effect regions above 20%. Nevertheless, the application of any concept that accounts for possible mixture effects is more realistic than the present chemical-by-chemical assessment.