Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149128
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Aquatic occurrence of phytotoxins in small streams triggered by biogeography, vegetation growth stage, and precipitation
Author Günthardt, B.F.; Hollender, J.; Scheringer, M.; Hungerbühler, K.; Nanusha, M.Y.; Brack, W.; Bucheli, T.D.
Source Titel Science of the Total Environment
Year 2021
Department WANA
Volume 798
Page From art. 149128
Language englisch
Topic T9 Healthy Planet
Keywords Phytotoxins: poisonous plants; Surface water contamination; High resolution mass spectrometry screening; Persistence, mobility, and toxicity characterization

Toxic plant secondary metabolites, so-called phytotoxins, occur widely in plant species. Many of these phytotoxins have similar mobility, persistence, and toxicity properties in the environment as anthropogenic micropollutants, which increasingly contaminate surface waters. Although recent case studies have shown the aquatic relevance of phytotoxins, the overall exposure remains unknown. Therefore, we performed a detailed occurrence analysis covering 134 phytotoxins from 27 plant secondary metabolite (PSM) classes. Water samples from seven small Swiss streams with catchment areas from 1.7 to 23 km2 and varying land uses were gathered over several months to investigate seasonal impacts. They were complemented with samples from different biogeographical regions to cover variations in vegetation. A broad SPE-LC-HRMS/MS method was applied with limits of detection below 5 ng/L for over 80% of the 134 included phytotoxins. In total, we confirmed 39 phytotoxins belonging to 13 PSM classes, which corresponds to almost 30% of all included phytotoxins. Several alkaloids were regularly detected in the low ng/L-range, with average detection frequencies of 21%. This is consistent with the previously estimated mobility and persistence properties that indicated a high contamination potential. Coumarins were previously predicted to be unstable, however, detection frequencies were around 89%, and maximal concentrations up to 90 ng/L were measured for fraxetin produced by various trees. Overall, rainy weather conditions at full vegetation led to the highest total phytotoxin concentrations, which might potentially be most critical for aquatic organisms.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Günthardt, B.F., Hollender, J., Scheringer, M., Hungerbühler, K., Nanusha, M.Y., Brack, W., Bucheli, T.D. (2021):
Aquatic occurrence of phytotoxins in small streams triggered by biogeography, vegetation growth stage, and precipitation
Sci. Total Environ. 798 , art. 149128 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149128