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Oxidative Enzyme Response of Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) to Sublethal Fuel Exposure

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Biomarkers such as oxidase enzyme activity from flora exposed to chemicals in the water column and sediments have been widely used by ecotoxicologists to assess the quality of an environment. Biomarkers such as oxidase enzymes are especially useful indicators because they represent a direct biological response to environmental toxicity. A luminometer was used to quantify oxidase enzyme production in watercress (Nasturtium officinale) due to toxic chemical exposure of E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline blend), gasoline, and 99% pure ethanol over a 72-h period in aquatic root exposure and volatile leaf exposure experiments. Aquatic exposure to E85 caused an increase in oxidative enzyme production while gasoline and ethanol caused no significant changes in oxidase concentrations. Aquatic root exposure results were compared to volatile leaf exposures where effects of E85, gasoline, and ethanol caused increases in oxidase production. Morphometric measurements were also conducted as plant stress comparisons to oxidative enzyme analyses. Measurements of root length showed increases in root growth at some concentrations of fuels with only the highest concentration of E85 resulting in a decrease in root growth when compared to the control.

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Correspondence to Christopher Beals.

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Beals, C., Byl, T. Oxidative Enzyme Response of Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) to Sublethal Fuel Exposure. Water Air Soil Pollut 228, 117 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-017-3302-z

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  • Aquatic plants
  • Aquatic toxicology
  • Water quality
  • Watercress
  • Peroxidase