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Acute toxicity of binary and ternary mixtures of Cd, Cu, and Zn to Daphnia magna

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Standard static‐exposure acute lethality tests were conducted with Daphnia magna neonates exposed to binary or ternary mixtures of Cd, Cu, and Zn in moderately hard reconstituted water that contained 3 mg DOC/L added as Suwannee River fulvic acid. These experiments were conducted to test for additive toxicity (i.e., the response to the mixture can be predicted by combining the responses obtained in single‐metal toxicity tests) or non‐additive toxicity (i.e., the response is less than or greater than additive). Based on total‐metal concentrations (>90% dissolved), the toxicity of the tested metal mixtures could be categorized into all 3 possible additivity categories: less‐than‐additive toxicity (e.g., Cd‐Zn and Cd‐Cu‐Zn mixtures, and Cd‐Cu mixtures when Cu was titrated into Cd‐containing waters), additive toxicity (e.g., some Cu‐Zn mixtures), or more‐than‐additive toxicity (some Cu‐Zn mixtures, and Cd‐Cu mixtures when Cd was titrated into Cu‐containing waters). Exposing the organisms to a range of sublethal to supralethal concentrations of the titrated metal was especially helpful in identifying non‐additive interactions. Geochemical processes [e.g., metal‐metal competition for binding to dissolved organic matter and/or the biotic ligand, and possibly supersaturation of exposure waters with the metals in some high‐concentration exposures] can explain much of the observed metal‐metal interactions. Therefore, bioavailability models that incorporate those geochemical (and possibly some physiological) processes might be able to predict metal‐mixture toxicity accurately. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2014 SETAC

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