Solvent choice influences final toxicity results in Thamnocephalus platyurus bioassay when exposed to microcystin -LR

Carissa Hipsher, Joel Barker, Roman Lanno, Allison MacKay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Cyanobacterial blooms present a threat to many waterbodies around the world used for drinking water and recreational purposes. Toxicology tests, such as the Thamnotoxkit-F which uses the cladoceran T. platyurus, have been employed to assess the health hazards that these blooms may pose to the public. However, reported median lethal concentrations (LC50) of microcystin -LR to T. platyurus vary significantly from one study to the next. The variation in solvent type and concentrations used to dissolve microcystin -LR in preparation for toxicity experiments may be contributing to the variations in LC50 values found in the literature. The primary goal of this study was to determine what solvents and their corresponding concentrations can be used for microcystin -LR testing using T. platyurus without artifactually impacting LC50 values. All toxicity testing was completed using glassware as polystyrene containers have been shown to sorb microcystin. Microcystin -LR LC50 values for T. platyurus were determined using United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) moderately hard standard freshwater as a control for comparison with systems that were prepared using dimethyl sulfoxide or methanol to dissolve microcystin -LR. Low levels of dimethyl sulfoxide (2%) or methanol (1%) did not impact LC50 values of microcystin -LR to T. platyurus compared to US EPA moderately hard standard freshwater diluted in microcystin -LR. However, higher levels of dimethyl sulfoxide (4%) and methanol (1.4% and 4%) did lower the LC50 for microcystin -LR to T. platyurus, consistent with the toxicity of these solvents to T. platyurus when dosed in the absence of microcystin -LR. Researchers need to report the type and concentrations of solvents used in toxicity tests using cyanotoxins in order to ensure that results can be intercompared appropriately. Furthermore, researchers need to use caution when using organic solvents such as dimethyl sulfoxide or methanol to ensure that these solvents are not causing significant mortality in toxicity testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Jul 15 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Edgerley Ecotoxicology Fellowship provided by the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University . A special thanks to Yuzhou Huang for her assistance with microcystin -LR measurements.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Crustacea
  • Cyanotoxins
  • DMSO
  • Methanol
  • Microcystin -LR
  • Standard freshwater
  • Thamnotoxkit-F

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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