Acute Toxicity of Linear Alkylbenzene to Caenorhabditis elegans Maupas, 1900 in Soil

  • S. J. JohnsonEmail author
  • M. Castan
  • L. Proudfoot
  • D. A. Barry
  • N. Christofi

Linear alkybenzene (LAB) is a light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) whose primary use is as a precursor in the manufacture of linear alkylbenzene sulphonate (LAS) detergents. LAB is also used as insulating oil in underground electricity transmission cables. It has been estimated that some 2 × 106 kg/year of LAB is discharged into the sewage system in Europe (Hansen et al. 2000) and most published data relate to aquatic organisms (Gledhill et al. 1991; Heinze 2001). This work aims to address the lack of data on the toxicity of LAB to terrestrial soil organisms that may be exposed to contamination due to spills of bulk LAB or failure of oil-insulated cables.

Materials and Methods

Cable insulating oil was obtained from National Grid Transco. The oil was characterized by GC–MS as consisting of LAB isomers with an alkane chain of between 10 and 13 carbons, and a phenyl group attached to any but the terminal carbon (Johnson 2003; Johnson et al. 2001).

Caenorhabditis elegans (Maupas 1900)...


Adult Worm Hydrated Soil Ludox Isomeric Composition Linear Alkylbenzene Sulphonate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was funded by National Grid Limited. The authors would like to thank Dr. Bill Gregory at the Institute of Cell, Animal and Population Biology (ICAPB), The University of Edinburgh for C. elegans and. E. coli OP50.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. J. Johnson
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • M. Castan
    • 3
  • L. Proudfoot
    • 4
  • D. A. Barry
    • 1
    • 5
  • N. Christofi
    • 4
  1. 1.Contaminated Land Assessment and Remediation Research Centre, Institute for Infrastructure and Environment, School of Engineering and ElectronicsThe University of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  2. 2.Tertiary Oil Recovery ProjectThe University of KansasLawrenceUSA
  3. 3.Departement IAAEcole Polytechnique Universitaire de LilleVilleneuve D’ascq CedexFrance
  4. 4.School of Life SciencesNapier UniversityEdinburghUK
  5. 5.Ecological Engineering Laboratory, Environmental Sciences and Technologies Institute, School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental EngineeringEcole Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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