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DMSO toxicity to aquatic species has been broadly investigated amongst different relevant sensitive species of fish, invertebrates, algae and also insects and bacteria. The results obtained confirmed that DMSO toxicity profile for aquatic species is of low concern.

Short term toxicity to fish:

Acute toxicity studies carried out, for some of them, according to test procedures in accordance with national standard methods or guidelines, reveal 96-hour LC50’s ranging from 25,000 to 43,000 mg/L for fish according to the species considered (eg. Danio rerio, Pimephales promelas, Oncorhynchus mykiss, Lepomis macrochirus, Ictalurus punctatus, Lepomis cyanellus). Those results confirm the low toxicity of DMSO to fish.

Short term toxicity to aquatic invertebrates:

The acute toxicity of DMSO to daphnia has been investigated in studies compliant with OECD guideline studies or other methods.

An acute toxicity study, carried out according to OECD Guideline 202, reveals a 48-hour EC50 of 24600 mg/L for daphnia magna (freshwater invertebrates). This result confirms the low toxicity of DMSO to invertebrates.

Toxicity to aquatic algae:

A 2009 acute toxicity test carried out on Pseudokirchneriella subspicata demonstrates that DMSO is of very low toxicity to algae with an EC50 -72h values of 12 and 17 g/L respectively for biomass and growth rate. This result confirms the low toxicity for DMSO and is supported by many references.

Toxicity to microorganisms:

Toxicity study, carried out according ISO guidelines, reveal a 30 min EC50 between 10 and 100 mg/L for activated sludge. For Pseudomonas putida, EC10 - 16h determined was of 7100 mg/L and EC50 - 16h was of 16000 mg/L. Another study published determined the toxicity of DMSO to Photobacterium phosphoreum, and EC10 - 5min determined was of 77 mg/L.

So EC50 considered is of 10 mg/L and EC10 is of 77 mg/L.

The EC50 value should be regarded merely as a guide to the likely toxicity of the test substance either to activated sludge sewage treatment or to waste-water micro-organisms, since the complex interactions occuring in the environment cannot be accurately simulated in a laboratory test. Results presented suggest that DMSO is not acutely toxic to bacteria.