Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 9, pp 6590–6600 | Cite as

Assessing and monitoring the ecotoxicity of pulp and paper wastewater for irrigating reed fields using the polyurethane foam unit method based on monitoring protozoal communities

  • Cheng DingEmail author
  • Tianming Chen
  • Zhaoxia Li
  • Jinlong Yan
Research Article


Using the standardized polyurethane foam unit (PFU) method, a preliminary investigation was carried out on the bioaccumulation and the ecotoxic effects of the pulp and paper wastewater for irrigating reed fields. Static ectoxicity test had shown protozoal communities were very sensitive to variations in toxin time and effective concentration (EC) of the pulp and paper wastewater. Shannon-Wiener diversity index (H) was a more suitable indicator of the extent of water pollution than Gleason and Margalef diversity index (d), Simpson’s diversity index (D), and Pielou’s index (J). The regression equation between S eq and EC was S eq  = − 0.118EC + 18.554. The relatively safe concentration and maximum acceptable toxicant concentration (MATC) of the wastewater for the protozoal communities were about 20 % and 42 %, respectively. To safely use this wastewater for irrigation, more than 58 % of the toxins must be removed or diluted by further processing. Monitoring of the wastewater in representative irrigated reed fields showed that the regularity of the protozoal colonization process was similar to the static ectoxicity, indicating that the toxicity of the irrigating pulp and paper wastewater was not lethal to protozoal communities in the reed fields. This study demonstrated the applicability of the PFU method in monitoring the ecotoxic effects of pulp and paper wastewater on the level of microbial communities and may guide the supervision and control of pulp and paper wastewater irrigating within the reed fields ecological system (RFES).


Ecotoxicity Field monitoring Protozoal communities PFU method Pulping wastewater 



This work was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21277115) and the Qinglan Program of Science and Technology Innovation Team of Jiangsu Province (2010).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2015_4285_MOESM1_ESM.png (49 kb)
Fig. S1 Other biodiversity indices of protozoa in the field monitoring test. A. Gleason and Margalef diversity index of protozoa in the field monitoring test. B. Simpson’s diversity index of protozoa in the field monitoring test. C. Pielou’s index of protozoa in the field monitoring test. Additional biodiversity indices of protozoa were measured for analysis of the field monitoring test. As shown in Fig S1, the regularity in panels d, D and J was similar to Fig. 5. For instance, in panel A, the extent of pollution of water bodies in D1 and D2 went from severely to seriously to moderately polluted, and from severely to seriously polluted, respectively liking EC=12.5 % and EC=25 % (Fig. 5a). d was eventually equilibrated to seriously or severely polluted, suggesting that the toxicity of the pulping wastewater in D1 and D2 was lethal to the protozoa. However, D (panel B) and J (panel C) fluctuated at 0.8–1.0 and 1.3–1.5, respectively after 7 days in the field monitoring test, which were very similar to that in Fig. 5b and c, indicating no pollution in the two fields. In conclusion, H in Fig. 8 was more suitable than d, D and J to measure the extent of the water body pollution in the field monitoring test based on the PFU method. (PNG 49 kb)
11356_2015_4285_MOESM2_ESM.doc (67 kb)
Table S1 (DOC 67 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cheng Ding
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Tianming Chen
    • 1
    • 3
  • Zhaoxia Li
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jinlong Yan
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringYancheng Institute of TechnologyYanchengChina
  2. 2.School of Chemical and Biological EngineeringYancheng Institute of TechnologyYanchengChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Tideland Ecology and Pollution Control for Environmental ProtectionYancheng Institute of TechnologyYanchengChina

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