Use of fluorescence-based ecotoxicological bioassays in monitoring toxicants and pollution in aquatic systems: Review

Taylor and Francis
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Journal Article
Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry, 2007, 89 (4), pp. 631 - 649
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Chlorophyll a fluorescence has the potential to become a valuable ecotoxicological endpoint, which could be used with a range of aquatic phototrophs. Chlorophyll a fluorescence bioassays have been applied in the assessment of heavy metals, herbicides, petrochemicals and nutrients. The strengths of this endpoint are that it is rapid, non-invasive and non-destructive, while the major weakness is the lack of clear ecological relevance. We provide an overview of chlorophyll a fluorescence applications in ecotoxicology. We reviewed test conditions, parameters and protocols used to date and found standardised protocols to be lacking. The most favoured fluorescence parameters were maximum quantum yield (Fv/Fm) and effective quantum yield (?PSII); microalgae were the most widely used tested organism, herbicides the most commonly tested toxicant, while most studies lacked a summary statistic (such as EC50). We recommend that future research in aquatic chlorophyll a fluorescence ecotoxicology focus on standardisation of test protocols and statistical techniques.
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