Toxicity of Synthetic Musks to Early Life Stages of the Freshwater Mussel Lampsilis cardium

  • M. P. Gooding
  • T. J. Newton
  • M. R. Bartsch
  • K. C. Hornbuckle


Polycyclic musk fragrances are common additives to many consumer products. As a result of their widespread use and slow degradation rates, they are widely found in aquatic environments. This study reports on the lethal and sublethal toxicity of the polycyclic musks AHTN (Tonalide®) and HHCB (Galaxolide®) to glochidial (larval) and juvenile life stages of the freshwater mussel Lampsilis cardium (Rafinesque, 1820). In glochidia, 24-h median lethal concentrations (LC50s) ranged from 454 to 850 μg AHTN/L and from 1000 to >1750 μg HHCB/L (water solubility). Results for 48-h tests were similar to the 24-h tests. In 96-h tests with juveniles, we did not observe a dose-response relation between mortality and either musk. However, the growth rate was reduced by musk exposure. The median effective concentrations (EC50s, based on growth) were highly variable and ranged from 108 to 1034 μg AHTN/L and 153 to 831 μg HHCB/L. While all adverse effects occurred at concentrations that are much greater than those reported in natural waters (low μg/L to ng/L), these results indicate the potential for adverse effects on these long-lived organisms from exposure to synthetic musk fragrances.


Freshwater Mussel Synthetic Musk Polycyclic Musk Juvenile Mussel Musk Fragrance 
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 research was funded by a grant to Dr. Gooding from the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, University of Iowa. Thanks go to Daelyn Woolnough and Leon Lassiter for their help with mussel collection and to Steve Gutreuter for statistical review. Jennifer Rote and Laura Brentner assisted with the glochidial testing and Aaron Peck and Collin Just provided analytical expertise.


  1. ASTM (1989) Standard practice for conducting static acute toxicity tests with larvae of four species of bivalve molluscs. E-724-89. American Society for Testing and Materials, Philadelphia, PA, USAGoogle Scholar
  2. ASTM (2006) Standard guide for conducting laboratory toxicity tests with freshwater mussels. E-2455-06. Annual Book of ASTM Standards. American Society for Testing and Materials, West Conshohocken, PA, USAGoogle Scholar
  3. Augspurger T, Keller AE, Black MC, Cope WG, Dwyer FJ (2003) Water quality guidance for protection of freshwater mussels (Unionidae) from ammonia exposure. Environ Toxicol chem 22:2569–2575CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Balk F, Blok H, Salvito D (2001) Environmental risks of musk fragrance ingredients. In: Daughton C, Jones-Lepp T (eds) Pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the environment: Scientific and regulatory issues. American Chemical Society, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  5. Balk F, Ford RA (1999) Environmental risk assessment for the polycyclic musks AHTN and HHCB in the EU - I. Fate and exposure assessment. Toxicol Lett 111:57–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bauer G (1992) Variation in the life-span and size of the fresh-water pearl mussel. J Anim Ecol 61:425–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bester K (2005) Polycyclic musks in the Ruhr catchment area - transport, discharges of waste water, and transformations of HHCB, AHTN and HHCB-lactone. J Environ Monitor 7:43–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bogan AE (1993) Fresh-Water Bivalve Extinctions (Mollusca, Unionoida) - a Search for Causes. Am Zool 33:599–609Google Scholar
  9. Breitholtz M, Wollenberger L, Dinan L (2003) Effects of four synthetic musks on the life cycle of the harpacticoid copepod Nitocra spinipes. Aquat Toxicol 63:103–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dietrich DR, Hitzfeld BC (2004) Bioaccumulation and ecotoxicity of synthetic musks in the aquatic environment. In: Rimkus GG (ed) Synthetic musk fragrances in the environment. Springer-Verlag, New York, pp 233–244Google Scholar
  11. Eschke H-D (2004) Synthetic musks in different water matrices. In: Rimkus GG (ed) Synthetic musk fragrances in the environment. Springer-Verlag, New York, pp 17–28Google Scholar
  12. Fooken C (2004) Synthetic musks in suspended particulate matter (SPM), sediment, and sewage sludge. In: Rimkus GG (ed) Synthetic musk fragrances in the environment. Springer-Verlag, New York, p. 29–47Google Scholar
  13. Heberer T, Gramer S, Stan HJ (1999) Occurrence and distribution of organic contaminants in the aquatic system in Berlin. Part III: Determination of synthetic musks in Berlin surface water applying solid-phase microextraction (SPME) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Acta Hydroch Hydrob 27:150–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jacobson PJ, Neves RJ, Cherry DS, Farris JL (1997) Sensitivity of glochidial stages of freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae) to copper. Environ Toxicol Chem 16:2384–2392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kolpin DW, Skopec M, Meyer MT, Furlong ET, Zaugg SD (2004) Urban contribution of pharmaceuticals and other organic wastewater contaminants to streams during differing flow conditions. Sci Tot Environ 328:119–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Leonards PEG, deBoer J (2004) Synthetic musks in fish and other aquatic organisms. In: Rimkus GG (ed) Synthetic musk fragrances in the environment. Springer-Verlag, New York, pp 49–84Google Scholar
  17. Liebl B, Mayer R, Ommer S, Sonnichsen C, Koletzko B (2000) Transition of nitro musks and polycyclic musks into human milk. Adv Exp Med Biol 478:289–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Linebaugh E (2004) Accumulation of synthetic musk fragrances in Great Lakes sediment. University of Iowa M.S. ThesisGoogle Scholar
  19. Luckenbach T, Epel D (2005) Nitromusk and polycyclic musk compounds as long-term inhibitors of cellular xenobiotic defense systems mediated by multidrug transporters. Environ Health Perspect 113:17–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Luckenbach T, Ilaria C, Epel D (2004) Fatal attraction: Synthetic musk fragrances compromise multixenobiotic defense systems in mussels. Mar Environ Res 58:215–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McCullagh P, Nelder J (1989) Generalized linear models, 2nd edition. Chapman and Hall, London, UKGoogle Scholar
  22. Naiman RJ, Magnuson JJ, McKnight DM, Stanford JA (1995) The freshwater imperative: A research agenda, Island Press, p. 165.Google Scholar
  23. Naimo TJ (1995) A review of the effects of heavy-metals on fresh-water mussels. Ecotoxicology 4:341–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Newton TJ, Allran JW, O’Donnell JA, Bartsch MR, Richardson WB (2003) Effects of ammonia on juvenile unionid mussels (Lampsilis cardium) in laboratory sediment toxicity tests. Environ Toxicol Chem 22:2554–2560CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Newton TJ, Cope WG (2006) Biomarker responses of unionid mussels to environmental contaminants. In: Farris JL, Van Hassel JH (eds) Freshwater bivalve ecotoxicology. SETAC Press, Pensacola, FL and Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, FL.: In pressGoogle Scholar
  26. Osemwengie LI, Gerstenberger SL (2004) Levels of synthetic musk compounds in municipal wastewater for potential estimation of biota exposure in receiving waters. J Environ Monitor 6:533–539CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Peck AM, Hornbuckle KC (2004) Synthetic musk fragrances in Lake Michigan. Environ Sci Technol 38:367–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rimkus GG (1999) Polycyclic musk fragrances in the aquatic environment. Toxicol Lett 111:37–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rimkus GG, Wolf M (1996) Polycyclic musk fragrances in human adipose tissue and human milk. Chemosphere 33:2033–2043CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schreurs RHMM, Legler J, Artola-Garicano E, Sinnige TL, Lanser PH, Seinen W, van der Burg B (2004) In vitro and in vivo antiestrogenic effects of polycyclic musks in zebrafish. Environ Sci Technol 38:997–1002Google Scholar
  31. Simonich SL, Federle TW, Eckhoff WS, Rottiers A, Webb S, Sabaliunas D, De Wolf W (2002) Removal of fragrance materials during US and European wastewater treatment. Environ Sci Technol 36:2839–2847CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Somogyi LP, Kishi A (2001) Aroma chemicals and the flavor and fragrance industry. SRI InternationalGoogle Scholar
  33. US EPA (1999) 1999 update of ambient water quality criteria for ammonia. EPA 822-R-99-014. United states Environment Protection Agency, Office of water, Washington, DC, USAGoogle Scholar
  34. Waller D, Holland-Bartels L (1988) Fish hosts for glochidia of the endangered freshwater mussel Lampsilis higginsi Lea (Bivalvia: Unionidae). Malacol Rev 21:119–122Google Scholar
  35. Williams JD, Warren ML, Cummings KS, Harris JL, Neves RJ (1993) Conservation Status of Fresh-Water Mussels of the United-States and Canada. Fisheries 18:6–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wollenberger L, Breitholtz M, Kusk KO, Bengtsson BE (2003) Inhibition of larval development of the marine copepod Acartia tonsa by four synthetic musk substances. Sci Tot Environ 305:53–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zehringer M, Herrmann A (2001) Analysis of polychlorinated biphenyls, pyrethroid insecticides and fragrances in human milk using a laminar cup liner in the GC injector. Eur Food Res Technol 212:247–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. P. Gooding
    • 1
    • 4
  • T. J. Newton
    • 2
  • M. R. Bartsch
    • 2
  • K. C. Hornbuckle
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Global and Regional Environmental ResearchUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Geological SurveyUpper Midwest Environmental Sciences CenterLa CrosseUSA
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA
  4. 4.Department of BiologyWinona State UniversityWinonaUSA

Personalised recommendations