Effects of ionic liquids on the survival, movement, and feeding behavior of the freshwater snail, Physa acuta.


Room-temperature ionic liquids (ILs) are being promoted as environmentally friendly alternatives to volatile organic solvents currently used by industry. Because ILs are novel and not yet in widespread use, their potential impact on aquatic organisms is unclear. We studied the effects of several ILs on the survivorship and behavior (movement and feeding rates) of the freshwater pulmonate snail, Physa acuta. Median lethal concentrations (LC50s) of ILs with imidazolium- and pyridinium-based cations and Br- and PF6- as anions ranged from 1 to 325 mg/L. Toxicity was greatest for ILs with eight-carbon alkyl chains attached to both imidazolium and pyridinium rings and declined with shorter alkyl chains, indicating a positive relationship between alkyl chain length and toxicity. Compared to controls, snails moved more slowly when exposed to butyl- and hexyl-cation ILs at 1 to 3% of LC50 concentrations but were not affected at higher IL concentrations (4-10% of LC50), which is characteristic of U-shaped dose-response curves. Snail movement was not affected by ILs with octyl alkyl groups. Grazing patterns, however, indicated that snails grazed less at higher IL concentrations. Physa acuta egestion rates were reduced in the presence of ILs at 3 to 10% of LC50 concentrations. Thus, nonlethal IL concentrations affected P. acuta behaviors, potentially impacting individual fitness and food web interactions. These results provide initial information needed to assess the potential hazards of ILs should they reach freshwater ecosystems.

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@article{Bernot2005EffectsOI, title={Effects of ionic liquids on the survival, movement, and feeding behavior of the freshwater snail, Physa acuta.}, author={Randall J Bernot and Erin E Kennedy and Gary A. Lamberti}, journal={Environmental toxicology and chemistry}, year={2005}, volume={24 7}, pages={1759-65} }