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A Rapid and Simple Bioassay Method for Herbicide Detection

Libertas Academica
Publication Date
  • Biomarker Insights
  • Volume: 2008
  • Issue: 3
  • Chemistry


Xiu-Qing Li1, Alan Ng2, Russell King1, Dion G. Durnford2 1Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 850 Lincoln Road, P.O. Box 20280, Fredericton, NB, E3B 4Z7, Canada. 2Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, E3B 6E1, Canada. Abstract Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a unicellular green alga, has been used in bioassay detection of a variety of toxic compounds such as pesticides and toxic metals, but mainly using liquid culture systems. In this study, an algal lawn--agar system for semi-quantitative bioassay of herbicidal activities has been developed. Sixteen different herbicides belonging to 11 different categories were applied to paper disks and placed on green alga lawns in Petri dishes. Presence of herbicide activities was indicated by clearing zones around the paper disks on the lawn 2-3 days after application. The different groups of herbicides induced clearing zones of variable size that depended on the amount, mode of action, and chemical properties of the herbicides applied to the paper disks. This simple, paper-disk-algal system may be used to detect the presence of herbicides in water samples and act as a quick and inexpensive semi-quantitative screening for assessing herbicide contamination.

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