Adapting the Vegetative Vigour Terrestrial Plant Test for assessing ecotoxicity of aerosol samples

Nora Kováts, Eszter Horváth, Bettina Eck-Varanka, Eszter Csajbók, A. Hoffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Plants, being recognized to show high sensitivity to air pollution, have been long used to assess the ecological effects of airborne contaminants. However, many changes in vegetation are now generally attributed to atmospheric deposition of aerosol particles; the dose–effect relationships of this process are usually poorly known. In contrast to bioindication studies, ecotoxicological tests (or bioassays) are controlled and reproducible where ecological responses are determined quantitatively. In our study, the No. 227 OECD Guideline for the Testing of Chemicals: Terrestrial Plant Test: Vegetative Vigour Test (hereinafter referred to as ‘Guideline’) was adapted and its applicability for assessing the ecotoxicity of water-soluble aerosol compounds of aerosol samples was evaluated. In the aqueous extract of the sample, concentration of metals, benzenes, aliphatic hydrocarbons and PAHs was determined analytically. Cucumis sativus L. plants were sprayed with the aqueous extract of urban aerosol samples collected in a winter sampling campaign in Budapest. After the termination of the test, on day 22, the following endpoints were measured: fresh weight, shoot length and visible symptoms. The higher concentrations applied caused leaf necrosis due to toxic compounds found in the extract. On the other hand, the extract elucidated stimulatory effect at low concentration on both fresh weight and shoot length. The test protocol, based on the Guideline, seems sensitive enough to assess the phytotoxicity of aqueous extract of aerosol and to establish clear cause–effect relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15291-15298
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017



  • Aerosol
  • Cucumis sativus L
  • Ecotoxicity
  • Heavy metals
  • Necrosis
  • PAHs
  • Vegetative vigour test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this