Water Resources, Vol. 31, No. 5, 2004, pp. 502–510. Translated from Vodnye Resursy, Vol. 31, No. 5, 2004, pp. 546–555.

Original Russian Text Copyright © 2004 by Ostroumov.


The Effect of Synthetic Surfactants on the Hydrobiological Mechanisms of Water Self-Purification
S. A. Ostroumov
Moscow State University, Leninskie gory, Moscow, 119992 Russia
Received December 27, 2002

Abstract—Long-term studies of the biological effect of surfactants, including the effect surfactants exert on filter feeders, are reviewed. The role of filter feeders in the functioning of freshwater and marine ecosystems is analyzed. New aspects in the assessment of environmental hazard due to the impact of chemical pollutants, including surfactants and detergents, are established.

INTRODUCTION Studies made by the author [21–38] and data given in [5, 40, 56, 57] show that surfactants and surfactantcontaining compounds have an adverse impact on representatives of the major functional blocks of ecosystems, including both autotrophic [5, 38, 40] and heterotrophic organisms [21, 22, 27]. SELF-PURIFICATION OF WATER BODIES AND THE ROLE OF HYDROBIONTS IN MAINTAINING WATER QUALITY There are several definitions of the notion of water self-purification. According to one definition, it is considered “the entire complex of biological, physical, and chemical processes that allow a water body to free itself from pollutants delivered into it by wastewater or formed as a result of the activity of aboriginal organisms” [16], while, according to another, “water selfpurification in water bodies is water purification as a result of natural biological and physicochemical processes, transformation of organic and, partially, inorganic matter” [46]. The results of a series of studies [7, 13] have largely contributed to the understanding of self-purification processes. Wastewater passing through treatment facilities fails to have its complete purification guaranteed. Thus, an important function of natural ecosystems is the final treatment of waters. The self-purification processes in aquatic ecosystems are of importance not only from the viewpoint of maintaining water quality as a resource for water consumption, but also in terms of maintaining habitats appropriate for preservation of biodiversity. The Contribution of Hydrobionts to the Maintaining of Water Quality and Its Self-Purification The self-purification of an aquatic environment incorporates

physical and physicochemical processes [27], including dissolution and dilution; discharge of pollutants onto the shore and into nearby water bodies; pollutant sorption by suspended particles with subsequent sedimentation; pollutant sorption by bottom sediments; and pollutant evaporation; chemical processes [42], including pollutant hydrolysis; photochemical transformations; redox–catalytic transformations; transformation involving free radicals; pollutant bonding by dissolved organic matter (DOM), which reduces pollutant toxicity; chemical oxidation of pollutants with the participation of oxygen; biological processes [3, 7, 10, 13, 19, 39, 44, 50], including sorption and accumulation of pollutants and nutrients by hydrobionts; biotransformation (redoxreactions, destruction, and conjugation); mineralization of organic matter (OM); extracellular fermentative transformation of pollutants; removal of suspended particles and pollutants from a water column through water filtration by hydrobionts; removal of pollutants from a water column as a result of sorption by pellets, excreted by hydrobionts; nutrient consumption by benthos, leading to the prevention or retardation of nutrients and pollutants passing from bottom sediments into water; biotransformation and sorption of pollutants in soil, when polluted water is used for watering land; regulation of effects on other components of the water selfpurification system, including the effect on organisms (the list is incomplete; the phenomena are interrelated, and individual processes can be singled out only conventionally with the aim of analyzing and studying them). Important additional information about the abovementioned processes is given in [14, 56]. In fact, biological factors play a significant role in the processes that are formally classified as physical or chemical [22–24, 27]. The author of this paper has advanced a conception, according to which the aquatic ecosystem is an analogue of a large-scale diversified bioreactor with a water-purification function [25], and formulated the

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concept of the polyfunctional role of hydrobionts (and the aquatic biota as a whole) in the purification of aquatic ecosystems [53]. The self-purification processes involve virtually all hydrobiont groups, including microorganisms. The role of the latter is analyzed in detail in [56]. The rates of pollutant decay are controlled by virtually all ecosystem components and are regarded as one of its integral characteristic [27]. In some works, the contribution of hydrobionts in self-purification is considered a constant factor that does not depend on the hazardous impact exerted on organisms by substances polluting the ecosystem [49]. However, the biological self-purification factors are now subject to many impacts, including the pollution of the aquatic environment. Experiments carried out in order to characterize the biological effect of anionic surfactants, nonionic surfactants, cationic surfactants, and mixed preparations (foam-detergents), detected by their effect on hydrobionts [27], were made with the use of organisms taking part in the self-purification processes in water bodies [22–24, 39]. Depending on the situation, synthetic surfactants and other pollutants may have different effects on hydrobionts (they can inhibit their growth, change their behavior, and the like), which can affect the water purification processes. In this context, both planktonic and benthic organisms are of importance. An important self-purification factor of aquatic ecosystems is the functional activity of planktonic organisms. Bacterio-, phyto-, and zooplankton take part in all the processes that lead to water purification. The filtration activity of plankton has been studied and estimated by many authors [10, 44]. In particular, it was established that rotifers are capable of filtrating the entire volume of water in which they live up to 7.7 times a day [27]. Plankton experience both direct and indirect impact of pollutants. The direct impact of pollutants on phytoplankton was considered in [5, 55] and many other works. The author has recognized and examined the effect of surfactants on S. quadricauda (the effect of sodium dodecylsulfate, SDS), M. lutheri (the effect of etonii cationic surfactant) [38], marine cyanobacteria Synichococcus (the effect of nonionic surfactant TKh-100) [45], euglena E. gracilis (the effect of synthetic surfactants Bio-S and Kristall) [6], Dunaliella asymmetrica (the effect of sulfonol), marine diatoms Talassiosira pseudonana (the effect of nonionic surfactant TKh-100) [27]. The indirect effect of pollutants on phytoplankton is due to the dependence of the phytoplankton population on many abiotic and biotic factors, including the rate of its grazing by invertebrate filter feeders [8, 10], in particular, benthic ones [3, 7, 19].
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The Role of Benthic Filter Feeders in the Formation of Water Quality and its Purification Benthic filter feeders have a conditioning effect on water quality through removing from it various types of suspension. The assimilability of food by benthic filter feeders varies within a wide range and, for some freshwater mollusks, amounts to 40–47% [19]. The rest of the filtered organic matter is excreted and reaches the bottom deposits in the form of pellets, which makes the filter feeders participants in significant biogeochemical flows associated with the extraction of suspended matter from water. Zebra mussels in the western part of Lake Erie (up to 50 thousand specimens per 1 m2) were reported to consume each day the amount of phytoplankton 2– 4 times greater than their observed biomass per 1 m2 [27]. In summer, mollusks in Lake Krasnoe (Unio tumidus, U. pictorum, Anodonta complanta) filter 123– 174 g of suspended organic matter in the water column above 1 m2 of the bed [27]. A water layer 12 m in thickness in Lake Baikal is filtered by sponges within about 1.2 day [27]. Mollusks of the Dnieper–Bug liman (The Black Sea) filter the liman water volume more than 16 times per vegetation season [3]. The volume of water filtered by macroinvertebrates (mollusks, ascidia, and polychaeta) commonly totals 1–10 m3/(m2 day) [27]. Benthic filter feeders can contribute to the regulation of processes associated with the eutrophication of water bodies and mass blooming of toxic plankton species [27]. Water filtering in an ecosystem is critical for the self-purification of the water body and the regulation of processes that proceed in it. Specifically: —Suspension particles precipitate along with the pollutants they have absorbed; —It reduces water turbidity and improves the conditions for visible and ultraviolet light penetration, thus facilitating their effect on hydrobionts and organic matter; —It decreases the concentration of fine suspension in water, thus enhancing the fishery value of the water body. Otherwise, an increase in the suspension content of water will cause a decrease in the filtration rate of all the biofilterers examined [3, 44]; —Water mixing is intensified, facilitating water aeration and affecting phyto- and zooplankton development; higher phytoplankton concentrations and lower concentrations of nutrient and zooplankton; —Water aeration and oxygen consumption conditions improve, thus facilitating organic matter oxidation; —The species composition and the abundance of individual species of alga–bacterial community are controlled; these factors, in turn, determine the generation and destruction rates of hydrogen peroxide and the rate of free-radical self-purification; —Components of DOM are excreted;



—Sedimentation of organic matter accelerates due to the assimilation of phyto- and bacterioplankton by benthic biofilterers, excretion of faecal pellets and pseudo-faeces by biofilterers; —The active growth and functional activity of mollusks–biofilterers facilitates the development and functioning of heterotrophic bacteria in the underlying part of the ecosystem [22–24, 27]. The above considerations are of an environmental value. Thus, the formation of certain water transparency is of importance for the penetration of UV-radiation and the implementation of its biological effects in water bodies. A reduction in the amount of suspension is important, because suspensions adversely affect many hydrobionts [3, 9, 17, 44, 57]. The excessive amount of suspension in water can increase the toxicity of pollutants. Pollutant Effect on Filterers The author’s experiments confirmed the inhibition of the filtration activity of hydrobionts under the effect of anionic, non-anionic, and cationic surfactants, synthetic detergents, foam-detergents, and liquid detergents [27]. Pollutants (in particular, anionic, non-anionic, and cationic surfactants) affect the rate of water filtration, thus affecting the rate of removal of phytoplankton cells from the ecosystem. Synthetic surfactants are capable of inhibiting water filtration by M. edulis, M. galloprovincialis, C. gigas, U. tumidus, and U. pictorum [27, 28, 37, 50–54]. Statistical significance of the effect of synthetic surfactants is established [24, 27]. The results of experiments agree with data on the effect of other pollutants on other mollusk species [17]. Various pollutants cause an increase in the time that mollusks spent with their valves closed [47]. In the author’s experiments, M. edulis closed its valves at the concentration of SDS of 20 mg/l. This concentration is much higher than that (1–2 mg/l) sufficient for inhibiting the filtration rate. Suppression of water biofiltration by bivalves under the effect of pollutants was also demonstrated by other authors [2, 17]. The environmental pollution results in that organisms–filterers disappear from the macrozoobenthos composition in polluted areas within rivers and reservoirs [27], which eventually reduces the filtration activity of the benthic community. There are virtually no filterers (mollusks, pearlworts, or sponges) in the zooperiphyton composition in the aquatic ecosystems of the upper Volga where the environmental conditions are poor [41]. The biomass of filterers abruptly dropped in the Fennoscandian water bodies at an increase in the phosphorus concentration Ptot in water, a decrease in pH, and toxification (near the sources of heavy metal pollution) [48].

Data on the effect of pollutants on filtration activity of plankton are also available [15, 27, 48]. The rates of water filtration and the feeding of the freshwater crustacean Daphnia magna by Chlamydomonas reinhardii cells were found to be sensitive to the phenvalerat pyrethroid [27]. The method of delayed fluorescence [15] was used to show that the rate of daphnia (Daphnia magna) feeding by chlorella cells change under the effect of saturn herbicide (0.001–0.1 mg/l), insecticides DDT (0.1–1 mg/l) and metaphos (2 mg/l), as well as under the influence of copper sulfate. TDTMA surfactant inhibited the filtration activity of two types of rotifers—Brachionus angularis and Brachionus plicatilis [11]. The filtration activity of hydrobionts can be affected by the entry of nutrients containing N and P into the aquatic environment. These compounds stimulate the development and increase in phytoplankton biomass. Several groups of filterers were found to exhibit a decrease in the filtration rate at an increase in the concentration of nutrient particles (for example, the concentration of phyto- and bacterioplankton cells) [3, 44]. As mentioned above, the mechanisms of water selfpurification include processes that involve heterotrophic bacteria, cyanobacteria, algae, as well as flagellate, planktonic, and benthic biofilterers. Variations in the population, the growth and feeding rates of hydrobionts [19], the rates of excretion of faecal and pseudo-faecal pellets [27], and changes in the ratios of species in aquatic biocenoses under the effect of surfactants cannot but affect the self-purification processes. These processes are dependent on the trophic activity [19] of both bivalve and lung mollusks, which generate a large amount of pellets rapidly precipitating onto the bed under the effect of gravity, thus contributing to the removal of the organic matter of organisms consumed as a food from the pelagic zone. The sedimentation velocity of the pellets proved to be higher than that of individual phytoplankton cells and their fragments [14]. The differential biological activity of anthropogenic substances with respect to organisms of different ecological groups is especially distinct in the case of a complex pollution of aquatic environment [46], including synthetic detergent pollution, when P enters into the water along with synthetic surfactants. Under certain conditions, synthetic detergents (containing surfactants and compounds of P) can stimulate alga growth. For example, Tide-Lemon synthetic detergent at a concentration of 1–100 mg/l stimulated growth of Synechocystis sp. PCC–6803 [12]. Similar data were independently obtained for some marine microalgae [1]. A potentially hazardous situation emerges when the growth of phytoplankton organisms is stimulated (due to P input), and the filtration activity, leading to the removal of phytoplankton from the water column is inhibited (under the effect of surfactants). The alga population can be stable only if the factors that cause an increase and decrease in the population are in balance
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(alga grazing by consumers, including benthic filterers, is among these factors). Therefore, when both surfactants and P enter into the water, disbalance can form between the processes that determine the state of phytoplankton in the water body subject to pollution [29], thus facilitating alga blooming. Taking into account the diversity of biological effects that surfactants can have on the representatives of all major hydrobiont groups, we come to understanding the fact that the aquatic biota (including micro- and macroorganisms) is a labile and vulnerable component in the system of water self-purification. Bivalves, which filtrate water, are among the most vulnerable components [34–37, 50–54]. WATER PURIFICATION AND SOME APPLIED ASPECTS There are many ways of using organisms in schemes of biotechnological treatment of polluted water [43] and ecosystems or their components. Of great importance is the information about the tolerance limits of hydrobionts with respect to all major pollutants, including synthetic surfactants. Standards have been introduced to restrict the concentration of synthetic surfactants in waters sent to treatment facilities (20–50 mg/l) [43]. These standards refer to synthetic surfactants in general without differentiation into individual components of classes of synthetic surfactants. Various test-objects were used in the author’s experiments for testing the biological activity of synthetic surfactants. Tests based on angiosperm plants allowed ordering the representatives of different classes of synthetic surfactants in accordance with their biological activity. Thus, in accordance with increasing inhibiting effect on ¿. esculentum, different synthetic surfactants form the series: CHMA polymeric surfactant (copolymer of hexen and malein aldehyde) < anionic surfactant DSN PMS (Vilva) < non-ionic surfactant TKh-100 < cationic surfactant TDTMA. Therefore, the heterogeneity of synthetic surfactants should be taken into account in the future works aimed at standardization of the chemistry of water supplied to the biological treatment. In practice, the situation is even more aggravated by the fact that the synthetic surfactant content of wastewater often exceeds the aboveconsidered admissible levels and can reach 30 g/l. The role of synthetic surfactants increases also by the efficiency of their treatment averaging 48–80% (and as low as 20% in winter) [4]; individual types of synthetic surfactants (such as non-ionic surfactants from the class of alkilphenols derivative) belong to the class of difficultly decomposable xenobiotics, and the percent of water purification from them is even lower. In some regions where water resources are deficient, soil watering by polluted water is being implemented or planned. In such cases, the use of waters containing
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synthetic surfactants results in their accumulation in soils and plants [27]. The author has made experiments to study the effect of synthetic surfactants on several plant species, including Sinapis alba L., Fagopyrum escelentum Moench, Lepidium sativum L., Oryza sativa L., Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz, Triticum aestivum L., and others. The results of these experiments show that synthetic surfactants inhibit the growth of plant germs even when their concentration in water is much less than the maximum concentration in wastewater [21, 27]. When in concentrations lower than those that notably inhibited the extension of germs, synthetic surfactants affected the formation of root fibrils by plant rhizoderma [24, 27]. This also has an effect on the ecological interaction in the plant–soil system. Of interest in this connection are the results of experiments demonstrating an increase in the population of cyanobacteria (including nitrogen-fixing bacteria) in soil under the influence of aqueous solutions of synthetic surfactants [27]. Thus, the results of studies of the effect synthetic surfactants exert on plants and soil cyanobacteria essentially supplement the published data and suggest the possibility of disturbance of the structural–functional parameters of ecosystems, which will certainly affect their water-purification potential and the ecological capacity of agricultural lands (their ability to serve for the utilization of polluted waters). For the practical solution of problems of water treatment and the rehabilitation and enhancement of the natural aquatic ecosystems that have already been polluted, of great importance are the approaches involving bio- and phyto-remediation. Numerous biotechnological schemes of polluted water treatment are known to use some organisms, in particular, immobilized microorganisms [27, 43], floating or partly submerged macrophytes. Destruction of pollutants with the use of artificial ecosystems and phytoremediation is much cheaper (specifically, in terms of operating cost, it is no less than 30% cheaper) than other methods of elimination (destruction) of xenobiotics [27]. The newly collected data on the sensitivity and tolerance of some plant species to synthetic surfactants can be of use for works aimed at phytoremediation of polluted waters and ecosystems. PROBLEMS OF ASSESSING THE ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARD OF ANTHROPOGENIC IMPACT ON HYDROBIONTS The diversity and environmental role of the biological effects of synthetic surfactants, including sublethal ones, allow establishment of the incomplete adequacy of some systems of criteria used for the assessment of the environmental hazard of chemicals. The objective estimation of the environmental hazard of chemicals must incorporate the assessment of



sublethal effects [47] and the effect of these substances on the self-purification capacity of ecosystems [22– 35, 46], where the latter should be interpreted wider than just the processes effected by microorganisms. A system of criteria, taking into account various [18, 20–22, 45–48, 55, 57] effects of pollutants, including sublethal ones is required. The author thinks it appropriate to suggest for consideration and possible use a four-link concept of the system level–block analysis of the potential environmental hazard of the anthropogenic impact on the biota. The procedure should include the analysis of anthropogenic disturbances at the level of individual and population changes, aggregated parameters (for example, aggregate characteristics of total production and biomass of organism groups), the integrity and stability of the ecosystem, and the contribution of the ecosystem to the biospheric processes. The notions essential for this concept were developed and substantiated in [22–39, 50–54]. The use of this concept as a basis for a classification scheme introduces additional systematization and order in the analysis of factual data on the anthropogenic impact on organisms. This concept can be used for solving problems requiring the determination of specific numerical values of the critical (environmentally admissible) loads onto ecosystems, that is, for quantitative assessment of “the input into the habitat of one or several pollutants that have no adverse impact on most sensitive components of the ecosystem (according to the present-day knowledge)” [18]. Within the framework of the latter group of problems, the concept of the level–block analysis can be applied at the stage designated as “the diagnostics of the state of ecosystems and the substantiation of most informative criteria of the state of organisms, populations, and communities,” and at the final assessment of “the critical (admissible) loads, that is, the volumes of pollutants entering water objects” [18]. The obtained results and the developed notions can be used to improve the system of assessing the potential hazard of the effect of chemicals [46], as well as in the environmental monitoring and forecasting and for environmental expert evaluation. The relatively high tolerance of angiosperms to synthetic surfactants can be used in phytoremediation [24]. ON NEW METHODOLOGICAL APPROACHES, CONCEPTS, AND GENERALIZATIONS Taking into account the obtained results, a concept is developed that the aquatic biota as an ecosystem block, including not only microbiota, but also macrobiota, is a labile and vulnerable component of the water self-purification system [23]. The prevention of the anthropogenic reduction in the self-purification potential of aquatic ecosystems is a necessary condition of stable utilization of water ecosystem resources.

Some biological effects described or quantitatively characterized above are sublethal or subtoxic. The obtained results demonstrate the potential environmental hazard of the effect of sublethal concentrations of synthetic surfactants and the physiological and behavioral responses they can cause in organisms, which is in agreement with the results of studying other xenobiotics [46, 47]. Some procedures used by the author to assess the biological activity of chemicals have been tested on synthetic surfactants and represent an alternative to the most frequently used methods of biotesting of toxic substances on animals. Testing on germs and testing based on the characteristic of filterer functional activity is the most detailed presentation of the modified and tested procedure [33]. The testing of all classes of synthetic surfactants on germs or testing of nonionic surfactants, cationic surfactants, and synthetic detergents on mollusks virtually have not been used to characterized the substances described above and some other. New methodological approaches for biotesting have been developed and improved (a morphogenetic index characterizing the conventional mean length, testing based on the rhizoderma disturbance response, and specific modifications of measurements of the effect on the efficiency of filtration activity). This extended the validation of the set of instruments used to assess the biological activity of chemicals of the classes mentioned above. The environmental hazard of a pollutant should be assessed based on an approach that takes into account the diversity of the biological effects involved. In addition to the conventional estimates based on the death rate within certain period [46], approaches based on recording other types of impact on organisms [22, 26, 27, 33, 47] are also of use. The different effects of TKh100 surfactant on representatives of successive links of the trophic chain—plankton (Synechococcus sp., Hyphomanas sp.) and benthic filter feeders (Mytilus edulis, M. galloprovincialis, Crassostrea gigal, Unio sp.)—enabled the establishment of the potential hazard of anthropogenic generation of environmental disbalances [29]. Surfactants had an effect on both planktonic organisms and on benthic filter feeders, which use the former as a food resource. The filtration activity of the latter was more sensitive to surfactants than the growth of planktonic organisms—at relatively small surfactant concentrations, the efficiency of mollusk filtration activity notably decreased. The experimental results demonstrate the potential hazard of the situation when the decrease in the withdrawal of planktonic organisms from water by consumers is not compensated for by an adequate decrease in their growth. Moreover, under certain conditions, surfactant-containing substances (synthetic detergents) can stimulate alga growth [1, 12]. Thus, the different effect of pollutants on the organisms at successive trophic levels can create a potential hazard of disbalance in trophic chains [29–32].
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NATURE PROTECTION PRIORITIES AND RECOMMENDATIONS, SOLUTION OF APPLIED PROBLEMS The system of priorities used as a basis for ranking substances according to their environmental hazard should be revised, and a more adequate system for the classification of pollutants should be developed. We propose to use the approaches involving the analysis of the potential hazard each pollutant presents for the processes of ecosystem self-purification, transport of matter and energy over the trophic network, dynamic balance between the interacting species, and the information flows in each ecosystem and between them. The established biological effects of xenobiotics are used to show that a generalized four-link level–block concept can be used for the analysis of the environmental hazard of the anthropogenic impact on ecosystems [22–24]. Underestimation of sublethal effects and differential biological activity of xenobiotics (e.g., synthetic surfactants), associated with their effect on different species, can cause errors in forecasting the consequences of the anthropogenic stress in ecosystems. This determines proposals for planning works aimed at studying the hydrobiological aspects of global changes, namely the ecological mechanisms controlling the biogeochemical flows of carbon [14, 56], as well as consumption and retention of CO2 and Corg by aquatic ecosystems. The author has already mentioned that in some cases, synthetic surfactants can be even more hazardous pollutants than they have been supposed to be [21]. The amount of synthetic surfactants entering the environment is considerable and still growing (depending on the class of the synthetic surfactants) by 2–5%. The range of the biological effects caused by synthetic surfactants is wide and embraces virtually all major blocks and trophic levels in aquatic ecosystems [27, 38]. It also incorporates distortion in the behavior of organisms as well as in the processes contributing to water self-purification. The decomposition of many synthetic surfactants in the course of microbial oxidation and biodegradation is very slow [43, 55]. Not only the synthetic surfactants themselves, but also the products of their biodegradation (as was shown for ionic surfactants, such as alkylphenols and their derivatives) exhibit persistence and high bioaccumulation coefficients and, among other negative effects, have an estrogenic effect on the biota [27]. Thus, in some cases, synthetic surfactants can be more hazardous environmental pollutants than they were assumed to be before. This should be taken into account in improving and modifying the system of nature-protection priorities. New types of hazard associated with the effect of environmental chemical pollution were recognized in [30–32, 34, 35]: the disruption of the pellagial–benthal interaction in aquatic ecosystems, disturbance of the ecological remediation (ecological reparation) of water quality in water bodies, synecological summation of
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impacts on different trophic levels of an ecosystem, enhanced eutrophication as a result of reduced regulatory potential of the consumers. The new results demonstrate the need for a more adequate interpretation of some notions in the environmental legislation. Thus, the notion of the damage to the environment, ecosystems, and living resources, used in the environmental legislation, cannot be interpreted adequately unless, in addition to other kinds of damage, it will include the derangement of the capability of organisms and ecosystems for water self-purification, in particular, the derangement of the capacity to filter water with a normal rate. The laws, the interpretation and implementation of which require maximally accurate interpretation of the notion of the environmental damage or damage to an ecosystem and living resources, are, for example, the Federal Laws “On the Environmental Expert Evaluation,” “On the Animal World,” and “On the Continental Shelf of the Russian Federation.” In [20] attention was drawn to the role of chemical and biochemical factors in the stabilization and destabilization of the ecological equilibrium. Studies of the biological effects of synthetic surfactants, in particular, their effect on the processes that are of importance for water self-purification and for maintaining the stability of aquatic ecosystems, yielded new data for the analysis of anthropogenic destabilization of environmental equilibrium. The application domain of the results obtained and the notions derived from them includes the diagnostics of the state of an ecosystem, the evaluation of the critical (admissible) loads, environmental expert evaluation, monitoring, and forecasting, which are necessary for the sustainable use of bioresources and their sustainable development [27, 32]. The materials of this study can also be used for scientific support and substantiation of measures for preventing emergencies that are due to large-scale environmental pollution. The collected facts and developed notions [51] testify that additional attention should be paid to the potential ecological hazard and environmental damage caused by irrational use of synthetic surfactants, which results in pollution of water bodies; more energetic measures should be taken to control and reduce this type of pollution; the rank of synthetic surfactants in the system of nature-protection priorities should be raised. The established vulnerability of filter-feeding hydrobionts to sublethal concentrations of pollutants, including synthetic surfactants, emphasizes the importance of maintaining the proper level of the functional activity of this group of hydrobionts in aquatic ecosystems subject to anthropogenic stress. One of the prerequisites for maintaining of water quality [24, 37], conservation of hydrobiont habitats, and hence the preservation of the biodiversity of all inhabitants of the aquatic environment as a whole is the creation and maintenance of conditions required for normal and suf-



ficiently high level of functional activity of the block of aquatic ecosystem that is represented by filter feeders. The maintenance of the filtration activity of filter feeder populations should be among the aims of the natureprotection regime of water bodies and water areas in reserves, including special hydrobiological and malacological reserves and other types of protected territories and water areas [36]. CONCLUSIONS Autotrophic and heterotrophic hydrobionts and other organisms are used to establish and characterize the biological effects in an aquatic medium containing synthetic surfactants, i.e., inhibition of the growth of diatoms Thalassiosira pseudonana (Hustedt) Hasle et Heimdal and euglena; derangement of the growth and development of angiosperms, including inhibition of the extension of plant germs (Sinapis alba L., Fagopyrum seculentum Moench, Lepidium sativum L., Oryza sativa L., and others), and the growth of aquatic macrophytes (Pistia stratiotes L.). It was found that the morphogenetic processes in rhizoderm, which lead to the formation of root fibrils, are deranged; the growth of marine bacteria (prostecobacteria Hyphomonas sp.) is inhibited, the behavior of annelidas Hirudo medicinalis L.; and other effects. Experiments allowed the establishment of a previously unknown ability of ionic and non-ionic synthetic surfactants and mixtures containing them to reduce the filtration activity of mollusks, which manifests itself when synthetic surfactants and preparations containing them affect mollusk organisms. The result is a lower rate of the observed withdrawal of a mixture of monocellular organisms by water-filtrating mollusks [22–37, 50]. This property was proved by the author in a series of experiments with marine and freshwater mollusks subject to the effect of aquatic solutions of synthetic surfactants (anionic, non-anionic, and cationic) conducted for studying the effect of synthetic surfactants on the activity of marine and freshwater mollusks (Mytilus edulis L., M. galoprovincialis Lamarck; Crassostrea gigas Thunberg; Unio tumidus Philipsson; U. pictorum L.) [22–37, 50–54]. A conceptual approach based on a structured system of analysis of the potential hazard due to the effect of chemicals was proposed for assessing the potential environmental hazard to hydrobionts of synthetic surfactants and other chemicals. This system incorporates the assessment of the danger of disturbance of aquatic biota at four levels: individual and population changes, aggregated parameters, integrity and stability of the ecosystem, the contribution of the ecosystem to biospheric processes [48]. It is recommended that the system of priority objects and indices for biological testing be completed (it is proposed to include, in particular, the filtration activity of bivalves) and the priority system of contaminants be

improved (it is proposed to raise the priority of synthetic surfactants). It is recommended that the biological activity of chemicals be assessed by an improved biotesting method based on the proposed and tested morphogenetic characteristic, which integrates information on the germination of seeds and the rate of germ elongation (an integral morphogenetic characteristic—the conventional mean length of germs). A new method of biotesting based on the effect of inhibition of root fibril formation, revealed for the first time, was developed. An experimental substantiation was given to the potential environmental significance of the effect caused by the influence of synthetic surfactants on hydrobionts and the relationship between these effects and the hazard of anthropogenic impact on the processes of water self-purification. Therefore, the preservation of the self-purification potential of water bodies is impossible without additional efforts aimed at the reduction of damage to hydrobionts and ecosystems because of pollution of water bodies by synthetic surfactants and substances containing them. It is proposed to consider this notion when formulating the hydrobiological priorities for sustainable development, environmental expert assessment, preservation of biodiversity, and the utilization of bioresources. It may be predicted that new examples of similar effects that synthetic surfactants, compounds containing them, and other chemicals have on organisms will be found in the future. A bilateral cause-and-effect relationship exists between the maintaining of water quality and preservation of biodiversity in water bodies. Studying the filtration activity of hydrobionts as a labile function of aquatic organisms gives a new indication of the fact that the preservation of biodiversity of hydrobionts and their functional activity is an important prerequisite of maintaining water quality [37]. The notions, generalizations, and recommendations formulated in this paper are mostly applicable both to freshwater and marine ecosystems. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The author is grateful to V.D. Fedorov, T.I. Moiseenko, E.V. Venitsianov, A.G. Kocharyan, B.M. Dolgonosov (WPI RAS) for discussion of problems relating to water quality, L.I. Shpitonova, E.F. Zhukova, G. Widdous (Institute of Open Society, MacArthur Foundation), European Environmental Organization, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Institute of Biology of Southern Seas of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine for their support during the implementation of some phases of this study. REFERENCES
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