No clear response in the stormwater phytoplankton community to biocide contamination

Greta Minelgaite*, Diana A. Stephansen, Márta Simon, Morten L. Fejerskov, Jes Vollertsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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This study investigated the responses of natural phytoplankton communities of an urban stormwater pond to biocide contamination. The biocides carbendazim, terbutryn, diuron, and irgarol 1051, and their mixture, were used in two laboratory microcosm and one outdoor mesocosm studies at concentrations of 10, 100, and 1000 ng L−1. The water samples were collected in a pond receiving significant biocide contamination. The mesocosm study was carried out in the same pond. The phytoplankton community response was evaluated after 10–15 days of exposure, with respect to its taxonomic composition, abundance and biovolume. No significant changes were observed in any of the experiments. Only at the highest applied terbutryn concentration were lower numbers of taxa identified in both microcosm and mesocosm experiments. Additionally, increases in Chlorophyta abundance and biovolume, along with an increase in irgarol concentration, were observed throughout the three experiments. Nevertheless, the statistical analysis did not confirm any significant differences among the biocide treatments. These results suggest that the biocide concentrations probably were below the harmful or toxic threshold to the stormwater pond phytoplankton. On the other hand, as the investigated pond phytoplankton taxa face biocide inputs throughout the year, they could have already adapted to the tested biocide contamination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3120
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, project number MST-667-00151.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Algae taxonomic diversity
  • Carbendazim
  • Diuron
  • Irgarol
  • Stormwater ponds
  • Terbutryn


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