Toxicity, uptake and metabolism of 4-n-nonylphenol in root cultures and intact plants under septic and aseptic conditions

  • Maria Bokern
  • Petra Raid
  • Hans Harms
Research Articles


4-Nonylphenol, a compound with estrogenic activity, has been shown to occur in sewage sludges and effluents of sludge treatment. This, as well as its use in the formulation of pesticides, may result in the contamination of crop plants and may therefore have an impact on the quality of food or feedstuff. The toxicity, uptake and metabolism of 4-n-nonylphenol (4-n-NP) were investigated as14C-labeled 4-n-NP in root cultures under septical and aseptical conditions and with intact plants grown in containers with soil and aseptically grown in nutrient media. 4-n-NP was toxic to all plant systems tested. The presence of microorganisms and the developmental state of the plant material appeared to have an influence on the EC50 values. 4-n-NP was taken up by the roots and a metabolism to polar compounds was observed in the cases where sufficiently high uptake rates. With intact plants a transport from roots to the shoots was evident. Metabolism in roots changed quantitatively in the presence of microorganisms. The mineralization of 4-n-NP to14CO2 only occurred with microorganisms.


Effluents of sludge treatment, estrogenic activity estrogenic activity, degradation estrogenic activity, microorganisms estrogenic activity, mineralization estrogenic activity, phytotoxicity sewage sludges, estrogenic activity 


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Copyright information

© Ecomed Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Bokern
    • 1
  • Petra Raid
    • 1
  • Hans Harms
    • 1
  1. 1.Bundesforschungsanstalt für LandwirtschaftInstitut für Pflanzenernährung und BodenkundeBraunschweigGermany

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