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Volume   Journal

I Number 1 2010 for Environmental Rehabilitation and Conservation
Volume I No. 1 2010 [17-21] Zade[ISSN
et al. 0975 - 6272] 

Toxicity testing of industrial effluents through freshwater fish Lebistes

reticulates (Peters)

Suresh B. Zade1, Shashikant R. Sitre2, Shanta Satyanarayan3 and Sanjeev S. Gandhewar4

Received: February 24, 2009 ⏐ Accepted: May 01, 2010 ⏐ Online: April 4, 2010

Toxic effects of industrial effluents of an herbal treated effluent and toxicity was reduced by
pharmaceutical company to freshwater fish more than 30% with physico-chemical
Lebistes reticulatus (Peters) were investigated treatment alone. In order to further know the
during 96 hours static bioassay tests. LC50 reduction in toxic effect the-physico-
values for raw, neutralized and physico- chemically treated industrial effluent was
chemically treated industrial effluents of an subjected to biological treatment by activated
herbal pharmaceutical manufacturing company sludge system. The effluent after biological
were found out under standard laboratory treatment revealed no toxic effect to Lebistes
conditions. The behavior of the fish is also reticulatus for about a month pointing out that
recorded during experiments. It is evident from toxicity was fully reduced after biological
the toxicological studies that raw industrial treatment and the wastewater can be discharged
effluent was much more toxic as compared to
into inland surface waters without harming the
neutralized and physico- chemically
aquatic biota.

Keywords: Acute toxicity ⏐ Lebistes Introduction

reticulates ⏐ industrial effluent ⏐ Activated
Today, herbal medicines are popular in India
and some of the south East Asian Countries due
to very low side effects, cultural acceptability
and low cost (Rajashekharan, 2002). The herbal
For Correspondence: medicines are manufactured from plant
materials like roots, stems, barks, gums, resins
P.G. Department of Zoology, RTM Nagpur University, and certain chemicals like sugars, gums,
Nagpur, Maharashtra organic solvents, gelatin, lactose, salts, special
N.S. Science and Arts College, Bhadrawati, District – minerals, various heavy metals etc.
Chandrapur, Maharashtra
National environmental engineering research Institute Herbal medicines generate a lot of waste water
(NEERI), Nagpur, Maharashtra (effluent) during manufacturing processes
J.B. College of Science, Wardha, Maharashtra
which include washings of medicinal plants to

Toxicity testing of industrial effluents through freshwater fish Lebistes reticulates (Peters)
Volume I Number 1 2010 [17-21]
Zade et al.

remove dust, dirt and microbial contaminants. toxicity of industrial effluents were followed as
Apart from general washing the wastewater is per standard protocols (Doudorof, 1951,
generated from different processes like Sprague, 1969, Rao et al.,1982),
crushing, mixing, extraction, distillation,
The bioassay studies were carried out in glass
fermentation, decoction and utensil washing
aquaria of 10 Lit capacity using ten fishes in
based on market demand (Vanerkar et al.,
each container. Similar control was run parallel
2002). The organic, inorganic and toxic
with dilution water only. Suitable
components present in the effluent have direct
concentrations were prepared and a range
impact on aquatic organisms and it is very
finding test and final confirmatory test were
difficult to correlate the observed effect to
performed and readings on fish mortality were
specific pollutants as these effluents are
recorded at every 24 hours interval.
complex in nature having highly fluctuating
characteristics. Due to fluctuating market LC50 values were calculated as per Litchfield
demands these medicines are prepared in and Wilcoxon (1949). The results were
batches and so the characteristics of effluent are subjected to statistical analysis. Based on LC50
continuously changing. These wastewaters values, 95% confidence limits, slope and
have high Biochemical Oxygen Demand regression (R2) are calculated and presented in
(BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and Table 2. Fish behaviour was also studied during
very high Suspended Solids (S.S.) with large the experiment of 96 hours duration.
amount of heavy metals, phenolics etc.

Results and Discussion

Materials and Methods The toxicity studies revealed that raw and
The static bioassay tests were performed at neutralized wastewaters were much more toxic
room temperature using Lebistes reticulates as to Lebistes as compared to physico-chemically
test organism. The required fishes for treated effluents. The fishes came to surface
experimentation purpose were procured from a frequently due to distress in raw wastewater,
local fish supplier of Nagpur City (Maharshtra with quick opercular movements and moving
State). The length of fish ranged between 1.5 to erratically. The distress to fishes is due to
2.0 cm. having a weight of 0.20 to 0.30 gms. reduction in dissolved oxygen by raw
approximately. Healthy fish were selected for wastewater because of high Biochemical
toxicity testing experiments. Oxygen Demand (BOD) values and its acidic
nature. Somewhat lessened effect was observed
The industrial effluents were collected from a in other two wastewaters. Loss of balance of
local herbal pharmaceutical manufacturing the fish was observed at higher concentration of
company from Nagpur and composite sample wastewater. The LC50 values (Table 2) clearly
were collected and utilized for toxicity testing. show that raw wastewater was much more toxic
The raw, neutralized and physico-chemically and neutralized effluent toxicity was reduced
treated effluents were characterized as per somewhat due to marginal reduction of BOD,
Standard Methods (APHA, 1998) and their COD and Suspended Solids with slight removal
characteristics are presented in Table 1. For of heavy metals.
experimentation standard dilution water was
prepared and used, Methods for measuring the

Toxicity testing of industrial effluents through freshwater fish Lebistes reticulates (Peters)
Volume I Number 1 2010 [17-21]
Zade et al.

It is thus inferred that this wastewater needs completely treated effluent is now non toxic to
treatment to reduce toxicity and lime fish as shown by healthy fish.
neutralization is effective in reducing the The herbal pharmaceuticals though age old and
toxicity. So the wastewater was subjected to referred in our Vedic scripts did not receive
physicochemical treatment using conventional much attention till recently but its importance
coagulants like ferric chloride, alum, lime and was understood quite late and they gained
ferrous sulphate. The cationic polymer popularity due to low side effects. Moreover
Oxyfloc-FL 11 gives good results at a dose of being herbal in nature their toxicity testing
300:0.25 mg/ liter at optimum combination for aspect was not seriously considered so far and
reduction in toxicity of the effluent. It was so they were not fully understood.
found that the toxicity was reduced by more
than 30%. Still it is not safe to discharge the Today bioassays provide a safe tool for
effluent as fishes do not survive for a long assessing the toxic effects of industrial
duration into it. So the effluent was subjected to wastewaters and chemicals and LC50 values
further biological treatment by aerobic play an important role in protecting the fish
activated sludge system and toxicity tests were communities (Basak and Konar 1977). The
conducted. results obtained from the bioassays will help
the industries to take necessary pollution
It was confirmed from the toxicity tests that the control measures before discharging effluents
effluent was completely safe for discharge after into natural waters which will help in
biological treatment as no fish mortality was minimizing the pollution and safeguarding our
observed for a period of one month. The aquatic organisms.
Parameters Raw effluent Neutralized Physic-chemically
effluent treated effluent
Colour Dark Yellow Grey Light Yellow
pH 3.6-4.00 6.9-7.50 6.6
Total acidity 1385 590 192
Total suspended solid 1800 1603 295
Total solids 4169 2536 538
BOD (5 days at 20°C) 6892 4820 1660
COD 12430 9600 3860 Table 1: Characteristics of
Sulphide as S-2 28 20 09 Herbal Pharmaceutical
Total Phosphates (PO4- 136 98 42 Industrial Effluents

Total Nitrogen 223 132 60

Oil and Grease 82 36 15
Heavy Metals Note:
Iron 34.40 15.85 8.20
All the values are expressed in
Mercury 0.015 0.006 0.002
mg/Litre except colour and pH.
Copper 0.5790 0.312 0.222
Manganese 3.540 1.100 0.169 The heavy metals were
Zinc 0274 0.1624 0.100 analyzed on atomic absorption
Nickel 0.808 0.28 0.142 spectrophotometer.
Lead 1.562 0.92 0.72
Chromium 0.2330 0.1204 0.0721
Selenium 0.211 0.131 0.095
Arsenic N.D. N.D. N.D.
Toxicity testing of industrial effluents through freshwater fish Lebistes reticulates (Peters)
Volume I Number 1 2010 [17-21]
Zade et al.

Parameter  Raw effluent  Neutralized  Physico‐ chemically 
in Hrs  effluent  treated effluent 
24  LC50  6.50  7.50 38.00
95%  4.2 ‐ 10.7   5.22‐10.90   33.2‐43.00 
Confidence  y=  0.0613x  +  y=0.04812x+  Y=0.057x + 35.40  Table  2:  LC50  and  Other 
Limit, Slope  3.60  5.166  0.989 
Estimated  Values  of  Acute 
R2  0.962  0.966 
48  LC50  6.00  7.00 Toxicity  Tests  for  Lebistes 
95%  3.05‐11.50   5.60‐8.75  
hrs  33.8‐42.2   reticulates  (Peters)  Exposed  to 
Confidence  Y= 0.0623x +  Y= 0.0413x + 
Y= 0.055x + 35.08 
Limit, Slope  2.90  4.936  Industrial  Effluents  (Herbal 
R2  0.979  0.974 
72  LC50  4.90  6.70 Pharmaceutical)
95%  2.70‐8.80   4.82‐9.10  
hrs  33‐41.00  
Confidence  Y=  0.0625x+  Y=  0.0405x+ 
Y= 0.057x+ 34.6 
Limit, Slope  1. 794  4.612 
R2  0.978  0.972 
96  LC50  2.45‐7.80  6.30
95%  2.45‐7.80   4.25‐9.30  
hrs  33.50‐40.20  
Confidence  Y=  0.0558x+  Y=  0.041  x+ 
Y= 0.06Ix+ 33.90 
Limit, Slope  1.597  4.261 
R2  0.982  0.983 


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