Application of a novel phytotoxicity assay for the detection of herbicides in Hervey Bay and the Great Sandy Straits
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Natural Sciences, Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research
A novel phytotoxicity assay was incorporated into an environmental assessment of Hervey Bay and the Great Sandy Straits, to investigate the role of run-off associated herbicides in the deteriorated health of intertidal seagrass meadows. Dose response curves of common herbicides were performed and their toxicity equivalents elucidated to assist in analysis. The results of the assay were reproducible and corresponded strongly with results of chemical analyses. The incorporation of the assay into the assessment of surface waters added an important aspect to the study by allowing investigation of the toxicity of cumulative herbicide concentrations and yielding biologically relevant data. The highest herbicide concentration detected during the study was equivalent to 0.23 μg l−1 diuron; a concentration known to inhibit photosynthetic efficiency of the assay biomaterial by approximately 3%.