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Using enzyme bioassays as a rapid screen for metal toxicity

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Abstract

Mine tailings piles and abandoned mine soils are often contaminated by a suite of toxic metals, which were released in the mining process. Traditionally, toxicity of such areas has been determined by numerous chemical methods including the Toxicity Characteristic Leachate Procedure (TCLP) and traditional toxicity tests using organisms such as the cladoceran Ceriodaphnia dubia. Such tests can be expensive and time-consuming. Enzymatic bioassays may provide an easier, less costly, and more time-effective toxicity screening procedure for mine tailings and abandoned mine soil leachates. This study evaluated the commercially available MetPLATE™ enzymatic toxicity assay test kit. The MetPLATE™ assay uses a modified strain of Escherichia coli bacteria as the test organism. Toxicity is defined by the activity of β-galactosidase enzyme which is monitored colorometrically with a 96-well spectrophotometer. The study used water samples collected from North Fork Clear Creek, a mining influenced water (MIW) located in Colorado. A great benefit to using the MetPLATE™ assay over the TCLP is that it shows actual toxicity of a sample by taking into account the bioavailability of the toxicants rather than simply measuring the metal concentration present. Benefits of the MetPLATE™ assay over the use of C. dubia include greatly reduced time for the testing process (∼2 hours), a more continuous variable due to a greater number of organisms present in each sample (100,000+), and the elimination of need to maintain a culture of organisms at all times.

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Using enzyme bioassays as a rapid screen for metal toxicity
Year Published 2005
Language English
Publisher American Society of Mining and Reclamation
Publisher location Lexington, KY
Description 10 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Proceedings of the 2005 National Meeting of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation
First page 98
Last page 107
Conference Title 2005 National Meeting of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation
Conference Location Breckenridge, CO
Conference Date 06/19/2005
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N