Evaluation of phytotoxic effect of wastewater contaminated with anionic surfactants
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Among anionic surfactants, two of the major groups in current use are linear alkylbenzene sulphonates and alkyl ether sulphates. They pass into the wastewater treatment plants, where they are usually aerobically degraded, and next their remnants and biodegradation products enter the environment. The influence of wastewater containing the anionic surfactants at concentrations from 0.5 to 58 mg L-1 on seed germination was investigated. The tested wastewater came from the lab-scale biodegradation experiments conducted in the continuous flow system. Four different plants: mustard (Sinapsis alba), cress (Lepidium sativum), rye (Secale cereale) and wheat (Triticum aestivum) were employed in the tests. In order to evaluate the inhibition of seed germination, the germination index was calculated. It occurred that sodium alkylbenzene sulphonate inhibited seed germination of the rapidly growing plants (mustard and cress), starting with 10 mg L-1 in the effluent, while sodium alkyltrioxyethylene sulphate exerted the toxic effect at the concentrations above 30 mg L-1 for all tested plants. Mustard (Sinapsis alba) was most sensitive to the anionic surfactants exposure and could be used as a bioindicator within the phytotoxicity tests concerning anionics.
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Ewa Liwarska-Bizukojc, Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Lodz, Al. Politechniki 6, 90-924 Lodz, Poland