Acute Toxicity of Major Geochemical Ions to Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas): Part B—Modeling Ion Toxicity

Russell J. Erickson, David R. Mount, Terry L. Highland, J. Russell Hockett, Dale J. Hoff, Correne T. Jenson, Teresa J. Norberg-King, Brandy Forsman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Mathematical models are presented for the acute median lethal concentrations of major geochemical ions (Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, Cl, SO42−, HCO3/CO32−) to fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas), based on an extensive series of experiments presented in a companion article. Toxicity relationships across different dilution waters, individual salts, and salt mixtures suggest six independent mechanisms of toxicity to consider in modeling efforts, including Mg/Ca-specific toxicity, osmolarity-related toxicity, SO4-specific toxicity, K-specific toxicity, effects of high pH/alkalinity, and a multiple ion-related toxicity at low Ca distinct from the other mechanisms. Models are evaluated using chemical activity-based exposure metrics pertinent to each mechanism, but concentration-based alternative models that are simpler to apply are also addressed. These models are compared to those previously provided for Ceriodaphnia dubia, and various issues regarding their application to risk assessments are discussed. Environ Toxicol Chem 2022;41:2095–2106. 

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2095-2106
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank K. Lott for supervising the culture of test organisms used in the present study and to J. Nichols, J. Lazorchak, and 3 anonymous referees for helpful reviews.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 SETAC. This article has been contributed to by U.S. Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA.


  • Aquatic toxicology
  • Fathead minnow
  • Major geochemical ions
  • Mathematical models
  • Mixture toxicity
  • Pimephales promelas
  • Toxicity mechanisms
  • Humans
  • Cladocera
  • Ions
  • Toxicity Tests, Acute
  • Animals
  • Cyprinidae
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical/chemistry

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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