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ISSN 0096-3925, Moscow University Biological Sciences Bulletin, 2007, Vol. 62, No. 4, pp. 176–179. © Allerton Press, Inc.

, 2007.
Original Russian Text © E.A. Solomonova, S.A. Ostroumov, 2007, published in Vestnik Moskovskogo Universiteta. Biologiya, 2007, No. 4, pp. 39–42.

Tolerance of an Aquatic Macrophyte Potamogeton crispus L.
to Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate
E. A. Solomonova and S. A. Ostroumov
Department of Hydrobiology; e-mail: saostro@online.ru
Received April 17, 2006

Abstract—The effects of the anionic surfactant sodium dodecyl suplphate on the aquatic macrophyte Potamogeton
crispus L. are studied. Concentrations of 83–133 mg/l caused fragmentation of the stems of plants. The tolerance of
the plants to the negative effects of the surfactant was higher in the spring (April) than in the autumn (September).
DOI: 10.3103/S0096392507040074

Macrophytes are important components of ecosys- and 30.00 ml. The increment of the concentration of
tems and participate in the purification of water and SDS was 0.17, 0.33, 0.50, 0.83, 1.67, 8.30, 16.60, and
support its quality (McCutcheon and Schnoor, 2003; 49.80 mg/l, respectively. Also, a series of experiments
Wetzel, 2001). This is especially important in condi- was arranged with a single introduction of SDS. In this
tions of pollution of water bodies and water courses. case, the concentration of SDS in the vessels was 83.3,
Surfactants constitute a class of pollutants. The eco- 100.0, and 133.3 mg/l, respectively. The experiments
logical danger of surfactants is still insufficiently inves- were carried out with the water temperature in the ves-
tigated and analyzed. On the one hand, there are numer- sels being 19–23°C with normal room illumination in
ous publications on various bioeffects and disturbances April and September. The level of the effect of SDS on
of the structure and function of organisms under the the macrophytes was estimated using a 10-point scale.
action of synthetic surfactants (Davydov et al., 1997; In the elaboration of the scale, several visual character-
Ostroumov, 2001, 2005, 2006). On the other hand, istics of the state of the plants were taken into consider-
some authors do not qualify surfactants as major pollut- ation, including the separation of the stem fragments
ants (Moore and Ramamoorthy, 1984) and believe that, and the separation of the leaves and their pigmentation
ecologically, they are not highly dangerous for aquatic (Table 1).
ecosystems (Fendinger et al., 1994).
On the basis of studies of the effect of surfactants RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
and surfactant-containing mixtures and the elucidation
and comparison of the tolerance of organisms belong- The experiments with pondweed collected in Sep-
ing to different taxa, it was suggested to use angiosper- tember demonstrated that, when the sum total of the
mous plants for phytoremediation (Ostroumov, 2001). added SDS attained 6.68 mg/l (eight days into the
In this aspect, further investigation and clarification of experiment), the turgor of the stems decreased (Table 2).
the facts concerning the interaction of plants and vari- At the same stage of the experiment in the vessels with
ous xenobiotics are necessary. the sum total of SDS from 33.20 to 199.20 mg/l, con-
siderable fragmentation was observed (Table 2): at
The present paper presents the results of investiga- 33 mg/l, the level of impact of the SDS was 9 points; at
tions of the effect of various concentrations of aqueous 199 mg/l, it was 10 points.
solutions of the anionic surfactant sodium dodecyl sul-
phate (SDS) on the viability of the aquatic macrophyte In April, a decrease of the turgor was recorded when
pondweed Potamogeton crispus L. the sum total of the SDS attained 3.32 mg/l (8 days into
the experiment). However, in April, the process of frag-
mentation in the vessels with higher concentrations of
MATERIAL AND METHODS SDS developed less intensively than in the experiments
In the experiments with the pondweed, two–four carried out in September. In April, in the vessels with
stems with a combined biomass of 7.0–7.5 g were the sum total of the SDS equal to 33 mg/l, the level of
placed in vessels with tap water (volume 1.2 l) prelimi- the impact of the SDS was only equal to one point
narily allowed to settle for 48 hours. The prepared stock (Table 3).
solution of SDS in water (concentration of 2 mg/ml) was Thus, in the autumn, the tolerance of the pondweed
added to the vessels at intervals of 48 h for 20 days. The to SDS (four additions of the aqueous solution of SDS
volume of the added solution in the case of a single were added over eight days) was somewhat lower than
addition was 0.10, 0.20, 0.30, 0.50, 1.00, 5.00, 10.00, in the spring. The relatively high tolerance of the pond-

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TOLERANCE OF AN AQUATIC MACROPHYTE 177

Table 1. Scale of impact of sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) on the structural integrity of macrophytes
Points Characteristics of fragmentation of stems
0 Absence of fragmentation and signs preceding it
1 Decrease of turgor of stems (reversible stage)
2 Fracture of stems in 1–2 areas of the total mass of the plants
3 Separation of 1–2 parts of the stems in the total mass of the plants
4 Most plants (but not all) are fragmented
5 All plants are fragmented, 50% of the fragments are 6 cm long and longer
6 All the plants are fragmented, over 50% of the fragments are relatively short (less than 6 cm). Three or
more relatively longer fragments are present, 6 cm long and longer
7 Most fragments are relatively small, shorter than 6 cm. One–two relatively long fragments are present
(6 cm and longer)
8 All the fragments are shorter than 6 cm
9 All the fragments are less than 4 cm in length and are on the bottom of the vessel, most of the fragments
retain leaf pigmentation
10 All the fragments are shorter than 4 cm and are on the bottom of the vessel, more than 50% of the leaves
are separated, the leaf blades are decaying, depigmentation is expressed
Note: For the determination of the level of fragmentation applying the present scale, the vessels were used with not less than three plants
having a stem length from 12 to 30 cm.

Table 2. Level of the effect of SDS on the structural integrity of the stems of P. crispus L. in 8 days** (September)
Increment of
No. of Biomass Quantity of SDS in Sum of the addition Fragmentation
the concentration
vessel (wet weight) (g) the addition (mg) of SDS (mg/l) level*
of SDS (mg/l)
1 7.0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0
2 7.0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0
3 7.1 0.20 0.17 0.68 0
4 7.0 0.20 0.17 0.68 0
5 7.3 0.40 0.33 1.32 0
6 7.0 0.40 0.33 1.32 0
7 7.2 0.60 0.50 2.00 0
8 7.0 0.60 0.50 2.00 0
9 7.0 1.00 0.83 3.32 0
10 7.3 1.00 0.83 3.32 0
11 7.0 1.00 1.67 6.68 1
12 7.1 1.00 1.67 6.68 1
13 7.3 10.00 8.30 33.20 9
14 7.4 10.00 8.30 33.20 9
15 7.0 20.00 16.60 66.40 10
16 7.0 60.00 49.80 199.20 10
* The level of impact of the SDS on the macrophytes was estimated using a 10-point scale.
** Four additions were performed within eight days.

weed in the spring was also confirmed under the condi- one day after the introduction of the SDS solution, the
tions of a longer experiment when the series of addi- level of the impact was one point. The stems were fully
tions continued for 20 days (Table 4). fragmented 6 days into the experiment (Table 5).
At a simultaneous addition in September of compara- In the literature, there are data on investigations of
tively high doses of SDS (83.3, 100.0, and 133.3 mg/l), other macrophytes in which the processes of decompo-

MOSCOW UNIVERSITY BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES BULLETIN Vol. 62 No. 4 2007
178 SOLOMONOVA, OSTROUMOV

Table 3. Level of the effect of SDS on the structural integrity of stems of P. crispus L. in 8 days** (April)
Increment of
No. of Biomass Quantity of SDS in Sum of the addition Fragmentation
the concentration
vessel (wet weight) (g) the addition (mg) of SDS (mg/l) level*
of SDS (mg/l)
1 7.3 0.0 0.00 0.00 0
2 7.0 0.0 0.00 0.00 0
3 7.1 0.6 0.50 2.00 0
4 7.0 0.6 0.50 2.00 0
5 7.0 1.0 0.83 3.32 1
6 7.0 1.0 0.83 3.32 1
7 7.2 2.0 1.67 6.68 1
8 7.0 2.0 1.67 6.68 1
9 7.0 10.0 8.30 33.20 1
10 7.0 10.0 8.30 33.20 1
11 7.1 20.0 16.60 66.40 9
12 7.4 20.0 16.60 66.40 9
13 7.0 60.0 49.80 199.20 10
14 7.0 60.0 49.80 199.20 10
* The level of impact of the SDS on the macrophytes was estimated using a 10-point scale.
** Four additions were made within eight days.

Table 4. Level of the effect of SDS on the structural integrity of stems of P. crispus L. in 20 days** (April)
Increment of
No. of Biomass Quantity of SDS in Sum of the addition Fragmentation
the concentration
vessel (wet weight) (g) the addition (mg) of SDS (mg/l) level*
of SDS (mg/l)
1 7.3 0.0 0.00 0.00 0
2 7.0 0.0 0.00 0.00 0
3 7.1 0.6 0.50 5.00 1
4 7.0 0.6 0.50 5.00 1
5 7.0 1.0 0.83 8.30 1
6 7.0 1.0 0.83 8.30 1
7 7.2 2.0 1.67 16.70 1
8 7.0 2.0 1.67 16.70 1
9 7.0 10.0 8.30 83.00 1
10 7.0 10.0 8.30 83.00 1
11 7.1 20.0 16.60 166.00 –
12 7.4 20.0 16.60 166.00 –
13 7.0 60.0 49.80 199.20 –
14 7.0 60.0 49.80 199.20 –
* The level of impact of SDS on the macrophytes was estimated using a 10-point scale.
** Ten additions were made within 20 days (in vessel nos. 13 and 14, four additions were made during eight days; within eight days in
these vessels, 100% destruction of the plants was observed at the cumulative addition of 199.20 mg/l of SDS).

sition and destruction of plants were studied as part of ever, these studies did not involve the impact of xenobi-
the natural processes of dying off; destruction; organic otics on the decomposition of macrophytes.
detritus formation; and, finally, mineralization of vege- On the whole, the obtained results supplement the
tative biomass (e.g., Gamage and Asaeda, 2005). How- available knowledge on the sensitivity and tolerance of

MOSCOW UNIVERSITY BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES BULLETIN Vol. 62 No. 4 2007
TOLERANCE OF AN AQUATIC MACROPHYTE 179

Table 5. Level of the effect of SDS on the macrophytes P. crispus L. after a single addition of SDS (September)
Biomass Quantity of SDS Concentration of Fragmentation level*
No. of
(wet weight) in the addition SDS in the vessel
vessel in 1 day in 2 days in 3 days in 6 days
(g) (mg) (mg/l)
17 7.0 100.0 83.33 1 4 5 9
18 7.0 120.0 100.00 1 5 5 9
19 7.1 160.0 133.33 1 5 5 9
* The level of impact of SDS on the macrophytes was estimated using a 10-point scale.

plants to synthetic surfactants (Ostroumov, 2001, Khristoforova, N.K., Aizdaicher, N.A., and Berezov-
2006). The revealed impact of the seasons on the toler- skaya, O.Yu., Effect of Ions of Copper and of a Detergent
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tants agrees with the previously described facts concern- monas sp., Biologiya Morya, No 2, 114–119 (1996).
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MOSCOW UNIVERSITY BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES BULLETIN Vol. 62 No. 4 2007