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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Minimizing the Impact of Pesticides on the Riverine Environment in Australia

Fate and Toxicity of Endosulfan in Namoi River Water and Bottom Sediment


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 30 No. 3, p. 750-759
    Received: Oct 8, 1999

    * Corresponding author(s): hyner@epa.nsw.gov.au
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  1. Alex W. Leonarda,
  2. Ross V. Hyne *b,
  3. Richard P. Lima,
  4. Kellie A. Leigha,
  5. Jiawei Leabc and
  6. Ronald Beckettc
  1. a Dep. of Environmental Sciences, Univ. of Technology-Sydney, located at the Centre for Ecotoxicology, Westbourne Street, Gore Hill, NSW 2065 Australia
    b Centre for Ecotoxicology, Westbourne Street, Gore Hill, NSW 2065 Australia
    c CRC for Freshwater Ecology and Dep. of Chemistry Water Studies Centre, Monash Univ., Clayton, VIC, Australia


Endosulfan (6,7,8,9,10,10,-hexachloro-1,5,5a,6,9,9a-hexahydro-6,9-methano-2,4,3-benzodioxathiepine-3-oxide) sorption (standardized to 1% total organic carbon and dry weight) was significantly (P < 0.05) more concentrated on the large (>63 μm) particle fraction compared with smaller size fractions (<5 μm and 5–24 μm) of bottom sediments from the Namoi River, Australia. Following completion of the particle size fractionation (6 to 12 wk) and a sediment toxicity assessment (2 wk), the sediments showed large decreases in concentrations of α-endosulfan that coincided with an increase in endosulfan sulfate concentrations and minimal changes in β-endosulfan concentrations. In the Namoi River, similar patterns were observed in the composition of total endosulfan in monthly measurements of bottom sediments and in passive samplers placed in the water column following runoff from cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) fields. The toxicity of endosulfan sulfate in river water indicated by the nymphs of the epibenthic mayfly Jappa kutera, was more persistent than the α- and β-endosulfan parent isomers due to its longer half-life. This suggests that endosulfan sulfate would contribute most to previously observed changes in population densities of aquatic biota. Measured concentrations of total endosulfan in river water of up to 4 μg L−1 following storm runoff, exceed the range of the 96-h median lethal concentration (LC50) values in river water for both α-endosulfan (LC50 = 0.7 μg L−1; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.5 to 1.1) and endosulfan sulfate (LC50 = 1.2 μg L−1; 95% CI = 0.4 to 3.3). In contrast, the 10-d LC50 value for total endosulfan in the sediment toxicity test (LC50 = 162 μg kg−1; 95% CI = 120 to 218 μg kg−1) was more than threefold higher than the highest measured concentration of total endosulfan in field samples of bottom sediment (48 μg kg−1). This suggests that pulse exposures of endosulfan in the water column following storm runoff may be more acutely toxic to riverine biota than in contaminated bottom sediment.

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Copyright © 2001. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.30:750–759.