Dose-response analysis of diesel fuel phytotoxicity on selected plant species

Michael O. Eze*, Simon C. George, Grant C. Hose

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


[Graphical abstract presents]

As an ecotoxicological tool, bioassays are an effective screening tool to eliminate plants sensitive to the contaminant of interest, and thereby reduce the number of plant species requiring further study. We conducted a bioassay analysis of fifteen plant species to determine their tolerance to diesel fuel toxicity. Dose-response analysis revealed that increasing diesel fuel concentrations in the soil generally led to a monotonically decreasing biomass in 13 species (P < 0.001), with EC10 values (±SE) ranging from 0.36 ± 0.18 g/kg to 12.67 ± 2.13 g/kg. On the other hand, hydrocarbons had a statistically significant hormetic influence on Medicago sativa (f = 3.90 ± 1.08; P < 0.01). The EC10 and EC50 values (±SE) from the fitted hormetic model were 15.33 ± 1.47 g/kg and 26.89 ± 2.00 g/kg, respectively. While previous studies have shown M. sativa's tolerance of hydrocarbon toxicity, this is the first attempt to describe diesel fuel-induced hormesis in M. sativa using the Cedergreen-Ritz-Streibig model. This study thus shows that hormesis cannot be ignored in plant toxicology research, and that when present, an appropriate statistical model is necessary to avoid drawing wrong conclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number128382
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Dose-response analysis
  • Bioassay
  • Phytotoxicity
  • Diesel fuel
  • Hormesis


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