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Toxicological Effects of Surface Water Exposed to Coal Contamination on the Test System Allium cepa


Process related to power generation, i.e., extraction and burning of coal, strongly affects the soil, water resources, and air quality. Pollutants generated by the coal mining can lead to a number of environmental problems and has become matter of global concern. This study has focused on to evaluate the cytotoxicity and phytotoxicity of surface waters collected in the surroundings of the Thermoelectric Power Plant President Médici-UTPM (Candiota, Brazil), through Allium cepa bioassay and physicochemical analyzes. Three water samples collected at points P1, P2, and P3 were compared to the negative control (NC) for all variables analyzed. The P2 sample resulted in the lowest mitotic index (MI) values (23, 33.1, and 40.7%), followed by P1 (23, 33.1, and 40.7%). However, the P3 sample had the highest MI values (50.2, 40.1, and 36.3%) and was the most mutagenic sample compared to NC and other treatments. Samples P1, P2, and P3 were phytotoxic to A. cepa, resulting in abnormal seedlings. Through physicochemical analysis, all collected water samples showed high electrical conductivity and turbidity, indicating an increase in the deposition of metallic ions and organic compounds in these samples. Based on these findings, we can conclude that the analysis of surface water is an important step for screening mining areas potentially contaminated by coal compounds. Therefore, our study points out some consequences of mining process, in terms of A. cepa bioassay as well as their harmful effect on physicochemical constituents of surface waters, indicating the need for environmental monitoring of this region.

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Artico, L.L., Kommling, G., Migita, N.A. et al. Toxicological Effects of Surface Water Exposed to Coal Contamination on the Test System Allium cepa. Water Air Soil Pollut 229, 248 (2018).

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  • Pollution
  • Environmental toxicology
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Phytotoxicity
  • Biomonitoring