Scientifically sound risk assessment strategies and derivations of environmental quality standards for metals present in freshwater environments are currently hampered by insufficient chronic toxicity data collected from natural ecosystems, as well as inadequate information on metal speciation. Thus, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the impact of freshwater containing multiple metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn) on the chronic toxicity (72h) to the alga Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata and compare the observed toxicity results to the total and free metal concentration of the samples. Based on the information obtained herein, an additive inhibitory free multi-metal ion concentration index, calculated as the sum of the equivalent toxicities to the free metal ion concentration of each sample, was developed. The proposed index was well correlated to the observed chronic toxicity results, indicating that the concentration addition, when expressed as the free-ion activity, can be considered a reliable indicator for the evaluation of ecological risk assessments for natural waters containing multiple metals.
- Additive inhibitory metal concentration index (AIMCi)
- Chronic toxicity assay
- Metal bioavailability
- Metal speciation