Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 45–58

The use of phytotoxicity tests (common duckweed, cabbage, and millet) for determining effluent toxicity

  • Wuncheng Wang
  • Judson M. Williams

DOI: 10.1007/BF00394356

Cite this article as:
Wang, W. & Williams, J.M. Environ Monit Assess (1990) 14: 45. doi:10.1007/BF00394356


The objective of this study was to use higher plants for detecting effluent toxicity. Eight effluent samples were obtained from three industrial sources prior to their entry into a sewer system. The tests were the duckweed reproduction test, and root growth tests using cabbage and millet. The results of repeated phytotoxicity tests were reproducible. Of the three industrial sources, the effluent samples from a specialty chemical industry were the most toxic. For two samples from this source, the IC50 values (the concentrations which caused 50% inhibitory effect) for duckweed were less than 1.6% effluent concentration. The samples from an agricultural product utilization plant were the least toxic. For these samples, root growth tests failed to obtain IC50 values while the duckweed tests showed IC50 values of 91 and 43% effluent concentration. Among the three types of tests conducted, the duckweed reproduction test showed the greatest sensitivity to effluent toxicity, while root growth tests using cabbage and millet had mixed results. Duckweed is recommended as a part of a battery of tests for effluent toxicity.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wuncheng Wang
    • 1
  • Judson M. Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.Water Quality SectionIllinois State Water SurveyPeoriaUSA

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