Effects of Aquatic Pollution by a Non-Ionogenic Surfactant
on the Marine Diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana

N. Fisher *, M. Maertz-Wente *, and S. A. Ostroumov **

* Marine Science Center, State University of New York, USA

** Biological Faculty, Moscow State University, Vorob’evy Gory, Moscow, 119899 Russia

Received April 12, 1993

Abstract—The effects of the non-ionogenic surfactant, Triton X-100 (TX), on the growth of cultured centric
diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana were studied. In the presence of 0.1 mg/l TX the cell density in the culture
was markedly lower than in the control culture. In the presence of 1 mg/l TX the decrease in cell density
exceeded 50%. The decrease in the specific growth rate was about 10% in the presence of 0.1 mg/l TX and about
40% in the presence of 1 mg/l TX (over a period of seven days). The diatom sensitivity to TX was higher than
that of some red and green algae and chrysophytes, as well as that of starfish spermatozoa and plant seedlings
to TX or similar surfactants. These data reveal some more aspects of the ecological danger of aquatic pollution
by non-ionogenic surfactants.

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