The use of brine shrimp nauplii to test for the overall toxicity of sediment samples is proposed. Brine shrimp nauplii were cultured with different concentrations of heavy metals, including chromium (III), copper (II), nickel, lead and zinc, and organic pollutants, including triclosan, oxybenzone, octinoxate and bisphenol A. The brine shrimp nauplii were observed under a dissection microscope to determine the death rate. Results showed that brine shrimp nauplii are more sensitive to copper, cadmium, bisphenol A and oxybenzone. The LC50 (24h) are 55.5, 24.9, 5.6 and 2.7 ppm respectively. Zinc is likely to have synergistic toxic effect with nickel or lead. The synergistic toxic effects of other heavy metals and organic pollutants should be confirmed with further investigations.
Brine shrimp nauplii were treated with extracts from sediment samples collected from the oyster culture zone of the Deep Bay, namely Pak Nei, Sha Kiu Tsuen and Hang Hau Tsuen. The sediment samples were extracted with neutral sodium acetate to dissolve the exchangeable heavy metal ions and some organic pollutants. The death rate of brine shrimp nauplii treated with the sediment extract of Hang Hau Tsuen was similar to 1 ppm PBA. It was also about 10 to 20% higher than that of the other two sites (Pak Nei and Sha Kiu Tsuen). Since Hang Hau Tsuen is closer to the residential area and Lau Fau Shan Seafood Market than the other two sites, its sediment sample is likely to have a higher level of environmental pollutants. The results suggest that brine shrimp nauplii may be used as a biomarker to monitor the environmental changes in the overall level of pollutants in sediment samples.