Germination, root elongation, and photosynthetic performance of plants exposed to sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES): an emerging contaminant

TitoloGermination, root elongation, and photosynthetic performance of plants exposed to sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES): an emerging contaminant
Tipo di pubblicazioneArticolo su Rivista peer-reviewed
Anno di Pubblicazione2021
AutoriSalvatori, E., Rauseo J., Patrolecco L., A. Caracciolo Barra, Spataro F., Fusaro L., and Manes F.
RivistaEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
ISSN09441344
Abstract

The anionic surfactant SLES (sodium lauryl ether sulfate) is an emerging contaminant, being the main component of foaming agents that are increasingly used by the tunnel construction industry. To fill the gap of knowledge about the potential SLES toxicity on plants, acute and chronic effects were assessed under controlled conditions. The acute ecotoxicological test was performed on Lepidum sativum L. (cress) and Zea mays L. (maize). Germination of both species was not affected by SLES in soil, even at concentrations (1200 mg kg−1) more than twice higher than the maximum realistic values found in contaminated debris, thus confirming the low acute SLES toxicity on terrestrial plants. The root elongation of the more sensitive species (cress) was instead reduced at the highest SLES concentration. In the chronic phytotoxicity experiment, photosynthesis of maize was downregulated, and the photosynthetic performance (PITOT) significantly reduced already under realistic exposures (360 mg kg−1), owing to the SLES ability to interfere with water and/or nutrients uptake by roots. However, such reduction was transient, likely due to the rapid biodegradation of the surfactant by the soil microbial community. Indeed, SLES amount decreased in soil more than 90% of the initial concentration in only 11 days. A significant reduction of the maximum photosynthetic capacity (Pnmax) was still evident at the end of the experiment, suggesting the persistence of negative SLES effects on plant growth and productivity. Overall results, although confirming the low phytotoxicity and high biodegradability of SLES in natural soils, highlight the importance of considering both acute and nonlethal stress effects to evaluate the environmental compatibility of soil containing SLES residues. © 2021, The Author(s).

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URLhttps://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?eid=2-s2.0-85100098821&doi=10.1007%2fs11356-021-12574-w&partnerID=40&md5=75d0b997fbbf347c56ac2c95c17c158a
DOI10.1007/s11356-021-12574-w