Assessment of the toxic effects of mixtures of three lanthanides (Ce, Gd, Lu) to aquatic biota

Abstract : Lanthanide (LNs) release into the environment is expected to greatly increase in the coming years due to a high demand for new technologies. However there is a gap in the ecological risk assessment of these metals because most of the ecotoxicological studies have been performed with only one element, although they are usually found in nature as a group. This research evaluated the effects of mixtures of three lanthanides, cerium (Ce), gadolinium (Gd), and lutetium (Lu), representative of the light, middle and heavy rare earth elements, respectively, on seven aquatic species (A. fischeri, R. subcapitata, C. vulgaris, B. calyciflorus, H. incongruens, D. magna and D. rerio). Lanthanide content decreased over time in all toxicity test media and it was observed that LN sedimentation starts at the beginning of the tests with a steep decline of the available LN amount. Potential toxic effects of LNs were observed only in five species of the seven studied, predominantly in the unicellular organism (A. fischeri) and in the organisms belonging to the lower trophic levels (R. subcapitata and B. calyciflorus). The multi-toxicity approach performed in this study showed synergistic effects in tests performed with the bacteria A. fischeri and the algae R. subcapitata, and antagonistic effects for the rotifer B. calyciflorus. Although predicting the response of aquatic organisms exposed to multi-elements is not an easy task and can be masked by potential interactions with other compounds or even by nutrient removal. The variation in toxic action among species observed in this study reveals that lanthanide interaction in toxicity mechanisms should not be discarded, and supports that further studies with LN mixtures are required to properly understand their toxic behaviour in nature ecosystems.
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A. Romero-Freire, E. Joonas, M. Muna, C. Cossu-Leguille, Davide Vignati, et al.. Assessment of the toxic effects of mixtures of three lanthanides (Ce, Gd, Lu) to aquatic biota. Science of the Total Environment, Elsevier, 2019, 661, pp.276-284. ⟨10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.01.155⟩. ⟨hal-01990037⟩

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