Effects of Nutrient Pre-Exposure on Atrazine Toxicity to Vallisneria americana Michx. (Wild Celery)

  • Darrin D. Dantin
  • Ronald G. Boustany
  • Michael A. Lewis
  • Stephen J. Jordan
  • Rebecca F. Moss
  • Thomas C. Michot


Accelerated eutrophication is common to many freshwater and marine environments and often co-occurs with the presence of anthropogenic chemicals. However, the toxic effects of common chemical stressors such as herbicides in the presence of elevated nutrients are not well understood for most aquatic flora, particularly vascular species. To provide insight, field-collected Vallisneria americana Michx. (wild celery) were sequentially exposed to three nutrient concentrations for 3 months and then to nominal 11 and 110 μg L−1 atrazine for 96 h. Nutrient concentrations (combined NH4 +, NO2 , NO3 , PO4 ) were based on ambient concentrations in the St. Johns River (FL) and ranged from 0.013 to 0.668 mg L−1. Nutrient pretreatment potentiated the toxicity of atrazine as determined by chlorophyll fluorescence activity. Electron transport rates (ETR) were significantly less (48–59%) for plants pretreated with low and ambient nutrient levels in the presence of an average of 107.5–128.1 μg L−1 atrazine. Significant ETR reductions were also observed for plants exposed to an average of 11.4 μg L−1 atrazine after exposure to nutrients three times the ambient concentration in the St. Johns River. The results indicate the importance of considering the presence of nutrients in chemical hazard assessments, particularly for phytotoxicants and nontarget vascular plants.


Atrazine Photosynthetically Active Radiation Electron Transport Rate Atrazine Concentration Lower Observe Effect Concentration 
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 a collaborative project between the USEPA Gulf Ecology Division (Gulf Breeze, FL) and the USGS National Wetlands Research Center (Lafayette, LA). Field collection assistance was provided by personnel from the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), Palatka, FL. Support for mesocosm operation provided by SJRWMD. Greenhouse facility provided by University of Louisiana, Lafayette, and maintained by USGS National Wetlands Research Center.


The information in this document has been funded wholly (or in part) by the US Environmental Protection Agency. It has been subjected to review by the National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory and approved for publication. Approval does not signify that the contents reflect the views of the Agency, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darrin D. Dantin
    • 1
  • Ronald G. Boustany
    • 2
    • 4
  • Michael A. Lewis
    • 1
  • Stephen J. Jordan
    • 1
  • Rebecca F. Moss
    • 3
  • Thomas C. Michot
    • 2
  1. 1.Office of Research and Development, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Gulf Ecology DivisionUSEPAGulf BreezeUSA
  2. 2.National Wetlands Research CenterUSGSLafayetteUSA
  3. 3.IAP World ServicesLafayetteUSA
  4. 4.U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)LafayetteUSA

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