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Doklady Biological Sciences, Vol. 380, 2001, pp. 499–501. Translated from Doklady Akademii Nauk, Vol. 380, No.

6, 2001, pp. 847–849.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2001 by Ostroumov.


The Hazard of a Two-Level Synergism
of Synecological Summation of Anthropogenic Effects
S. A. Ostroumov
Presented by Academician V.N. Bol’shakov April 18, 2001

Received April 26, 2001

There are a number of approaches to identification mus quadricauda [11] in some growth media; the deter-
and classification of the hazards of anthropogenic gents TL (10 mg/l) and E (10 mg/l) stimulated the
impact on organisms, populations, ecosystems and the growth of A. nidulans [12]. Stimulation of some other
biosphere [1–7]. species of phytoplankton (marine microalgae) was also
The purpose of this study was to identify a new type shown [13].
of ecological hazard of anthropogenic impact (using Various species of phytoplankton were shown to
chemical pollution as an example), which we propose have different sensitivities to surfactants. It was shown
to term “synecological summation” or “synergistic that the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana is relatively
summation” of anthropogenic effects on organisms of sensitive to the nonionic surfactant Triton X-100 [14].
two adjacent trophic levels. However, the entire set of data available allows us to
As s continuation of our studies on the anthropo- conclude that at least some species of phytoplankton
genic impact of mixed chemicals, we studied the effects are relatively tolerant to detergents and their compo-
of some detergents on the filtering activity of the nents (several surfactants), at concentrations that sig-
bivalves Crassostrea gigas Thunberg and Mytilus gal- nificantly reduce the water filtering activity of bivalves.
loprovincialis Lam. The organisms were obtained from The reduction of the filtering activity is associated with
the Institute of Biology of Southern Seas (INBUM), a decrease in the ability of bivalves to remove sus-
National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The method pended particles from water.
of measurement was described in [6]. The actual chemical pollution of water bodies is a
complex pollution with a whole range of chemicals.
The data shown in Tables 1–3 demonstrate that the
Therefore, it is important that this range of chemicals
detergents Vesna-Delikat, IXI, and Tide-Lemon inhib-
may include both surfactants and nutrients, e.g., phos-
ited water filtering by bivalves, including both adult
phorus. Many detergents include both surfactants and
(Tables 1, 2) and juvenile (Table 3) organisms. The con-
phosphorus-containing chemicals; hence, they are per-
centrations of the detergents producing this effect were
fect examples of the source of the double contamina-
relatively low. This agrees with similar data on the
tion of water with both components. This fact is in
inhibitory effects produced by low concentrations of
accord with the aforementioned stimulation of the
other detergents, as well as of some individual chemi-
growth of some phytoplanktonic species by detergents
cals which belong to the class of surfactants [8–10].
(because the stimulatory effect of phosphorus might
Note that the same concentrations of detergents and
sometimes be more pronounced than the inhibitory
surfactants did not produce noticeable effects on sev-
effects of the other chemicals in the mixture).
eral species of unicellular organisms that represented a
part of the suspended matter. In actual ecological systems, the two group of
organisms considered (phytoplankton and bivalves) are
It was shown that the detergent Tide-Lemon at a linked together in trophic chains. Therefore, different
concentration of less than 100 mg/l did not inhibit the types of responses of phytoplankton and bivalves to
growth of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 [11]. The deter- some chemicals that simultaneously occur in water
gents OMO-Intelligent (1, 10, and 100 mg/l) did not (under the conditions of complex water pollution, or
inhibit the growth of Anacystis nidulans (Synechococ- pollution with a mixture of chemicals) may bring about
cus elongatus) R-2 [12]. Moreover, the detergent Tide- consequences important to the state of the ecosystem.
Lemon at concentrations of 1–100 mg/l stimulated the
growth of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 and Scenedes- Because of the link between the two trophic levels,
the hazards of individual chemicals that affect individ-
ual trophic levels may be combine to yield the follow-
ing effects: first phosphorus may stimulate the growth
Moscow State University, Vorob’evy gory, Moscow, of phytoplankton; second, the control of phytoplankton
119899 Russia (via its removal from water consumers) is disturbed

00499$25.00 © 2001 MAIK “Nauka /Interperiodica”

Table 1. Effect of the detergent VD on the change in the optical density (OD550) of the suspension of S. cerevisiae during its
filtration by the oysters Crassostrea gigas
Time from Control 1 (with
No. of Experiment Control 2 (without EER, ratio
the beginning of oysters, without VD)
measurement (+ VD) (A) oysters, without VD) (C) OD550 A/B, %
incubation, min (B)
1 7 0.162 0.237 121.0 0.196
2 22 0.055 0.174 176.4 0.097
Note: VD, the detergent Vesna-Delikat (1 mg/l). There were 16 oysters in each of the beakers (beakers A and B). The total weight (wet
weight with shells) of the oysters: A, 23.6 g; B, 23.5 g. The average weight of one oyster: A, 1.475 g; B, 1.469 g. The water volume
in each beacker was 250 ml;. the temperature was 23.4°C. S. cerevisiae density, 60 mg/l. EER, the effect on the efficiency of removal
of the suspended matter from water.

Table 2. Effect of the detergent IXI on the change in the optical density (OD550) of the suspension of S. cerevisiae during its
filtration by the mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis
Time from the
No. of Control 1 Control 2 EER, ratio
beginning of the Experiment
measurement (with mussels, (without mussels, OD550 A/B, %
incubation, min (+ IXI) (A)
without IXI) (B) without IXI) (C)
1 3 0.310 0.269 0.352 115.2
2 8 0.192 0.129 0.342 148.8
Note: Detergent IXI, 1 mg/l. The total weight (wet weight with shells) of the mussels: A, 96.2 g; B, 98.5 g. The average weight of one mussel:
A, 6.01 g; B, 6.16 g. The water volume in each beacker was 500 ml; the temperature was 22.3 °C. S. cerevisiae density, 100 mg/l. EER,
the effect on the efficiency of removal of the suspended matter from water.

Table 3. Effect of the detergent TL on the change in the optical density OD650 of the suspension of Pavlova lutheri (Droop)
Green (Monochrysis lutheri Droop) during its filtration by juvenile mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis

Time from the Experiment (+ TL) (A) Control 1 (with mussels, Control 2 (without
No. of without TL) (B) mussels, without TL) (C) Ratio OD650
beginning of the
measurement A/B, %
incubation, min 1 2 3 4 5 6
1 44 – – 0.12 0.10 – –
(Average 0.11)
47 – – – – 0.15 0.15 127.3
49 0.134 0.145 – – – –
(Average 0.14)
2 75 – – 0.072 0.070 – –
(Average 0.071)
78 – – – – 0.14 0.14 169.0
80 0.12 0.12 – – – –
Note: TL, Tide-Lemon (50 mg/l). Each variant was in duplicate (beakers 1 and 2, variant A; beakers 3 and 4, variant B; beakers 5 and 6, variant C).
In parentheses, the average values for duplicates are shown. The age of the mussels was two months. The total weight (wet weight with shells)
of the mussels: beakers 3 and 6, 0.10 g; beaker 4, 0.09 g; beaker 5, 0.11 g. The average weight of one juvenile mussel was 0.93 mg.

because of the negative effects of surfactants on the spite of the fact that primary targets of the chemicals
organisms of the next trophic level (represented by fil- are organisms belonging to different trophic levels)
ter feeders, including bivalves) [15]. Because of this (Table 4).
type of the trophic-chain organization, there exists a The hazard of that type is based on the unequal sen-
hazard of summation of the two types of effects (in sitivity of some phytoplanktonic species and benthic


Table 4. Examples of the anthropogenic effects that give rise to the hazard of two-level synergism of synecological summa-
tion (based on [6–13, 15] and other publications)
Components of the
Trophic levels Organisms Potential effects of the chemical agents
mixtures of chemicals
Primary Phytoplankton: Synechocystis sp. PCC Phosphorus-containing Stimulation of the growth of the
producers 6803; S. quadricauda [11]; Anacystis chemicals (phosphates) phytoplankton
(autotrophs) nidulans (Synechococcus elongatus)
R-2 [12]; and some others [13]
Consumers Benthic bivalves (filter feeders): Unio Surfactants Inhibition of the water filtration by
(phytophagous pictorum, Crassostrea gigas, Mytilus edulis, bivalves; decrease in the removal of
heterotrophs) and M. galloprovincialis [6–10], etc. cells of phytoplankton from water

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