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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Biological effects of surfactants, III hydra as a highly sensitive assay animal

  • Author(s): Bode, H
  • Ernst, R
  • Arditti, J
  • et al.

Effects on hydra of five homologous series of surfactants representing nonionic, amphoteric and anionic classes were examined. When concentrations which had no effects were increased tenfold the animal disintegrated within 24 h. Lethal concentrations always coincided with a surface tension of 49 ± 4 dynes/cm. This is probably the level which disrupts the cell membranes. Because the deleterious effects are very rapid and obvious, hydra is a useful organism for monitoring the potential toxicity of detergents in freshwater environments. © 1978.

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