John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Toxicity of sulfate and chloride to early life‐stages of wild rice (Zizania palustris)

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Despite its importance in the great lakes region of north America, wild rice (Zizania palustris) sensitivity to sulfate is not well understood. A 21‐day hydroponic experiment was performed to determine the toxicity of sulfate to wild rice seeds and seedlings. Effects of six sulfate concentrations ranging from 10 to 5,000 mg/l and of chloride salts at equivalent conductivity were evaluated to determine whether adverse effects were due to sulfate or to conductivity‐related stress. Sulfate treatment decreased root length, shoot length, and leaf number and increased phytotoxic effects at sulfate concentrations of 5,000 mg/l relative to a 50 mg/l control. The time to 30% mesocotyl emergence decreased at 2,500 mg/l sulfate, indicating a potential stimulatory effect. Sulfate exposures of <5,000 mg/l had no effect on five additional endpoints. Multiple regression analysis indicated that most observed changes could be attributed to conductivity‐related stress rather than sulfate per se with the exception of shoot length and leaf number. Chloride was more toxic than sulfate as determined by root length and phytotoxicity. In summary, sulfate concentrations below 5,000 mg/l did not adversely affect early life‐stage wild rice during a 21‐day period, and effects at 5,000 mg/l sulfate were attributable to conductivity‐related stress rather than sulfate toxicity in two of four endpoints. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2014 SETAC

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