Speciation of nickel and its toxicity to Chlorella sp. in the presence of three distinct dissolved organic matter (DOM)

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Nickel is often a metal of interest in regulatory settings given its increasing prevalence in disturbed freshwaters and as a known toxicant to fish and algae. Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is a toxicity modifying factor for nickel and a ubiquitous water physicochemical parameter. This study investigated the effect of DOM concentration and source on the chronic toxicity of nickel to Chlorella sp. using three DOM at two concentrations (3.1 ± 1.8 and 12 ± 1.3 mg C/L). Nickel toxicity to Chlorella sp. was not strongly influenced by DOM concentration. In the absence of DOM, the 72-h EC for Chlorella sp. was 120 μg Ni/L. In the low DOM treatment, nickel toxicity was either unchanged or slightly increased (87–140 μg Ni/L) and unchanged or slightly decreased in the high DOM treatment (130–240 μg Ni/L). DOM source also had little effect on nickel toxicity, the largest differences in nickel toxicity occurring in the high DOM treatment. Labile nickel (measured by diffusive gradients in thin-films, DGT) followed strong linear relationships with dissolved nickel (R > 0.97). DOM concentration and source had limited effect on DGT-labile nickel. DGT-labile nickel decreased with increasing DOM concentration for only one of the three DOM. Modelled labile nickel concentrations (expressed as maximum dynamic concentrations, c ) largely agreed with DGT-labile nickel and suggested that toxicity is explained by free Ni concentrations. This study confirms that nickel toxicity is largely unaffected by DOM concentration or source and that both measured (DGT) and modelled (c and free Ni ) nickel concentrations can explain nickel toxicity. 50 max max 2 dyn 2+ dyn 2+

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Australian Research Council



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