Ptaquiloside (PTA) is a natural toxin produced by bracken (Pteridium aquilinum [L.] Kuhn). Assessment of PTA toxicity is needed because PTA deposited from bracken to soil may leach to surface and groundwater. Inhibition of soil respiration and genotoxic activity of PTA was determined by a soil microbial carbon transformation test and an umu test, respectively. In the carbon transformation test, sandy loam soil was incubated at five different initial concentrations of PTA for a period of 28 d, after which glucose was added and respiration measured for 12 consecutive hours. The tests were performed at 20 degrees C and Soil moisture content of approximately 15%. For soil material sampled in the autumn, initial PTA concentrations ranging from 0.008 to 40.6 mu g PTA/g dry soil were tested. From fitting of data by a sigmoidal function, a 10% effect dose (ED10) was estimated to 13 jig PTA/g dry soil. with an upper 95% confidence limit of 43 mu g PTA/g dry soil and a 95% lower confidence limit of -infinity mu g PTA/g dry soil. For Soil material sampled in late winter, initial PTA concentrations ranging from 1.56 to 212 mu g PTA/g dry soil were tested, resulting in an ED10 value of 55 mu g PTA/g, dry soil, with an upper 95% confidence limit of 70 mu g PTA/g dry soil and a 95% lower confidence limit of 40 mu g PTA/g dry soil. The genotoxic activity of PTA was determined using the umu test without and with metabolic activation (addition of S9 rat liver homogenate). In tests with addition of S9, the induction ratio exceeded the critical ratio of 1.5 at a PTA concentration of 46 +/- 16 mu g/ml and, in tests without S9, the critical ratio was exceeded at a PTA concentration of 279 +/- 22 mu g/ml. The genotoxicity of PTA is comparable to that of quercetin, another bracken constituent. The toxicity of PTA toward microorganisms prolongs the persistence of PTA in terrestrial environments, increasing the risk of PTA leaching to drainage and groundwater.
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 2005, Vol 24, Issue 11, p. 2751-2756