The unicellular fungal tool RhoTox for risk assessments in groundwater systems

Maria Josie Lategan*, William Klare, Sarah Kidd, Grant C. Hose, Helena Nevalainen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    The recent inclusion of yeasts in environmental monitoring recognizes their ecological significance and sensitivity to toxicants. Here we present a robust and simple two-step toxicity assay and demonstrate the sensitivity of an ubiquitous groundwater yeast, Rhodotorula minuta, to a range of metals and metalloids. The test species was sensitive to copper with a 24 h EC50 of 35 μg Cu/L, followed in order of decreasing sensitivity by zinc, chromium (VI) and arsenic (EC50 4.40 mg As (III)/L). The strain demonstrated an unexpected tolerance to chromium (VI), having an EC50 value (3.45 mg Cr (VI)/L) similar to that of arsenic. The inclusion of a unicellular, microbial test-species into the suite of existing multicellular test species for toxicity evaluation is a key step towards strengthening the assessment of risk for groundwater ecosystems.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)18-25
    Number of pages8
    JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


    • Groundwater
    • Metals
    • Risk assessment
    • Toxicity
    • Yeast


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