Complex Mixture-Associated Hormesis and Toxicity: The Case of Leather Tanning Industry

Pagano, Giovanni; Castello, Giuseppe; Gallo, Marialuisa; Borriello, Ilaria; Guida, Marco
October 2008
Dose-Response;2008, Vol. 6 Issue 4, p383
Academic Journal
A series of studies investigated the toxicities of tannery-derived complex mixtures, i.e. vegetable tannin (VT) from Acacia sp. or phenol-based synthetic tannin (ST), and waste-water from tannin-based vs. chromium-based tanneries. Toxicity was evaluated by multiple bioassays including developmental defects and loss of fertilization rate in sea urchin embryos and sperm (Paracentrotus lividus and Sphaerechinus granularis), and algal growth inhibition (Dunaliella tertiolecta and Selenastrum capricornutum). Both VT and ST water extracts resulted in hormetic effects at concentrations ranging 0.1 to 0.3%, and toxicity at levels ≥⃒1%, both in sea urchin embryo and sperm, and in algal growth bioassays. When comparing tannin-based tannery wastewater (TTW) vs. chromium-based tannery effluent (CTE), a hormesis to toxicity trend was observed for TTW both in terms of developmental and fertilization toxicity in sea urchins, and in algal growth inhibition, with hormetic effects at 0.1 to 0.2% TTW, and toxicity at TTW levels ≥⃒1%. Unlike TTW, CTE showed a monotonic toxicity increase from the lowest tested level (0.1%) and CTE toxicity at higher levels was significantly more severe than TTW-induced toxicity. The results support the view that leather production utilizing tannins might be regarded as a more environmentally friendly procedure than chromium-based tanning process.


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