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Chronic toxicity of 4-nonylphenol to two unionid mussels in water-only exposures

October 4, 2018

Limited studies indicate that mussels are generally insensitive to organic chemicals; however, these studies were conducted in acute or short-term exposures, and little is known about the chronic sensitivity of mussels to organic chemicals. We evaluated the chronic (28 days) toxicity of 4-nonylphenol (4-NP) to two commonly tested species of mussels: fatmucket (Lampsilis siliquoidea) and rainbow mussel (Villosa iris). By the end of the 28 days chronic exposures, mean survival was ≥93% in all treatments, but the mean dry weight and biomass of mussels at the highest exposure concentrations were significantly reduced relative to the control. The 20% effect concentrations were similar between the two species. When compared to all other tested species, fatmucket and rainbow mussels are among the top four most sensitive species to 4-NP. However, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chronic water quality criterion of 6.6 μg 4-NP/L should protect the two mussel species.