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

  • Åsa ArrheniusEmail author
  • Thomas Backhaus
  • Frederick Grönvall
  • Marion Junghans
  • Martin Scholze
  • Hans Blanck


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.


Concentration Addition Independent Action Mixture Toxicity Periphyton Community Mixture Effect 
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.



The excellent technical assistance with the algal reproduction tests of Wiebke Meyer, Marianne Matzke, Friederike von Möller, and Erika Lorenz at the University of Bremen (Germany) is gratefully acknowledged. The excellent working facilities at the Kristineberg Marine Research Station and the corresponding funding from the Hierta-Retzius foundation and Göteborg University Marine Research Centre were crucial for these studies. Thanks to three anonymous reviewers for fruitful comments. The research was financially supported by the Commission of the European Union; PREDICT: Prediction and assessment of the aquatic toxicity of mixtures of chemicals (ENV4-CT96-0319); and BEAM: Bridging effect assessment of mixtures to ecosystem situation and regulations (EVK1-1999-00055).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Åsa Arrhenius
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thomas Backhaus
    • 2
  • Frederick Grönvall
    • 1
  • Marion Junghans
    • 2
  • Martin Scholze
    • 3
  • Hans Blanck
    • 1
  1. 1.Botanical InstituteGöteborg UniversitySweden
  2. 2.Department of Biology and ChemistryUniversity of BremenGermany
  3. 3.Centre for ToxicologyThe School of PharmacyUnited Kingdom

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