Toxicity of inorganic and organic selenium to Daphnia magna (cladocera) and Chironomus riparius (diptera)

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
By: , and 



Elevated concentrations of selenium (Se) have been previously measured in biota sampled from the Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge (KNWR) in the San Joaquin Valley of central California. We conducted acute and chronic toxicity tests with the cladoceran Daphnia magna and the midge Chironomus riparius to determine the toxicity or bioaccumulation of waterborne Se in a reconstituted water similar to the San Joaquin River. Daphnids were more acutely sensitive than midges to the toxic effects of inorganic Se. An organic form of Se (seleno-[L]-methionine) was extremely toxic to daphnids, but was relatively nontoxic to midges. In long-term exposure to a 6:1 mixture of selenate to selenite (a mixture representative of KNWR), the emergence time of adult midges was delayed at Se concentrations ≥ 837 μg/L. Daphnid reproduction and intrinsic rate of natural increase (r) were reduced at Se concentrations ≥ 348 μg/L and growth of adults was reduced at ≥ 156 μg/L. Whole body Mg, K and Na concentrations in daphnids were not affected by chronic Se exposure; however, whole body Ca concentration increased at intermediate Se exposure concentrations. In addition, whole body Cl concentration was reduced at 711 μg Se/L. Daphnids accumulated potentially toxic concentrations of Se from water that may adversely affect fish or waterfowl through the food chain.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Toxicity of inorganic and organic selenium to Daphnia magna (cladocera) and Chironomus riparius (diptera)
Series title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
DOI 10.1002/etc.5620090908
Volume 9
Issue 9
Year Published 1990
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description 11 p.
First page 1171
Last page 1181
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