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Ecotoxicological information

Toxicity to aquatic algae and cyanobacteria

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Description of key information

Reported toxicity values for acetonitrile in freshwater algae range from 520 mg/L (8-day TT in the blue-green algae Mictocystis aeruginosa) to 7943 mg/L (48-hr EC50 in the green algae Raphidocelis subcapitata).  A 72-hr NOEC of 400 mg/L was reported in a Guideline study of the marine algae Phaeodactylum tricornutum.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

EC10 or NOEC for freshwater algae:
520 mg/L
EC10 or NOEC for marine water algae:
400 mg/L

Additional information

The toxicity of acetonitrile has been studied in freshwater and marine algae. A summary of the available data is provided in the table below. Toxicity threshold values based on the first detectable inhibition of cell multiplication for the green algae (Scenedesmus quadricauda) and for the blue-green algae (Microcystis aeruginosa) has been reported by Bringmann and Kühn as 7300 and 520 mg/L respectively.

 

Chen et al (2005) reported 48 -hour, static EC50 values of 5926 mg/L (based on dissolved oxygen production) and 7943 mg/L (based on growth rate) for acetonitrile in Green algae, (Raphidocelis subcapitata). The methods used were designed to eliminate head space, and thus avoid loss of test substance by volatilization. This method is reported by the investigators to be more sensitive than the conventional (open) algal batch tests.

In a guideline (OECD 201) GLP study, MCSI of Japan (1996) reported the 72 -hr NOEC values (biomass, growth rate) for acetonitrile in alga (Selenastrum capricornutum) to be >1000 mg/L.

In a Guideline GLP study (CEMR, 2010) the effect of acetonitrile on the unicellular marine algae (Phaeodactylum tricornutum) was assessed over 72 hours. using a static, sealed test system with no headspace to avoid loss of the test substance by volatilisation from the test system. After 72 hours the following effect concentrations were calculated:

ErC50(growth rate)      9696 (95% CI: 7484 - 17597) mg/L

EyC50(yield)                 3560 (95% CI: 1604 - 7017) mg/L

The "no observed effect concentration" (NOEC) and "lowest observed effect concentration" (LOEC) for both growth rate and yield where statistically derived as 400 and 1600 mg/L respectively.

Toxicity of acetonitrile to algae

SPECIES

TEST TYPE

Duration

TOXICITY

END POINT

(mg/l)

REFERENCE

Raphidocelis subcapitata(green algae)

Static, nominal concentration,

no head space

48 hr

EC50= 5926

Disolved oxygen production

Chen et al (2005)

Raphidocelis subcapitata(green algae)

Static, nominal concentration,

no head space

48 hr

EC50= 7943

Growth rate

Chen et al (2005)

Microcystis aeruginosa

(blue-green algae)

Static, nominal concentration

8 days

TT = 520

Bringmann and Kühn (1978)

 

Scenedesmus quadricauda

 (green algae)

Static, nominal concentration

8 days

TT = 7300

Bringmann and Kühn (1978)

 

Selenastrum capricunutum

(green algae) 

 Static, nominal concentration

 72 hr

 NOEC > 1000

 MCSI, Japan (1996)

Phaeodactylum tricornutum

(marine algae)

 Static, nominal

concentration,

no head space

 72 hr

NOEC = 400 

CEMR (2010) 

TT = toxicity threshold for inhibition of cell multiplication.