Hormetic versus toxic effects of vegetable tannin in a multitest study

De Nicola E., Gallo M., Iaccarino M., Meric S., Oral R., Russo T., ...More

ARCHIVES OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND TOXICOLOGY, vol.46, no.3, pp.336-344, 2004 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Tannin from mimosa trees'(Acacia sp.) utilized in traditional leather tanning was tested for toxicity in sea urchin (Sphaerechinus granularis and Paracentrotus lividus) embryos and sperm, marine, and freshwater algae (Selenastrum capricornutum and Dunaliella tertiolecta), and Daphnia magna. Based on a two-step tanning procedure used in traditional tanneries, two mimosa tannin preparations, i.e., fresh tannin (FT) and used tannin (UT), were tested as suspensions. The early results in S. granularis embryos showed that UT exerted lower acute toxicity than FT, namely, 1 vs 100 mg/L, to obtain 100% mortality, respectively. Subsequent bioassays were conducted on fresh tannin water extracts (TWE) corresponding to nominal tannin concentrations ranging from 0.1 to 30 mg/L. Developmental toxicity, up to embryonic mortality was exerted by TWE at levels > 1 mg/L-2 S. granularis being more sensitive than P. lividus,embryos/larvae. At the concentration of 0.1 mg/L, the frequencies of larval malformations were significantly lower than in controls. This positive stimulatory. effect (currently termed as hormesis) was observed in extended numbers of culture replicates (up to 14) and was significant in the embryo cultures characterized by a relatively poor control quality (with <70% viable larvae in controls), whereas this effect was not observed in good-quality cultures (with greater than or equal to70% viable larvae in controls). Cytogenetic analysis of S. granularis embryos reared in FT or UT suspensions (1 mg/L to 1 g/L) showed mitotoxic effects (decrease in active mitoses per embryo) in FT-exposed, but not in UT-exposed embryos. Mitotic aberrations were significantly increased by 10 mg/L UT. Sperm fertilization success in both sea urchin species showed an increasing fertilization rate (FR) up to 0.3 mg/L TWE and a dose-related decrease in FR up to 30 mg/L. Again, the offspring of P. lividus sperm exposed to TWE (0.1 and 0.3 mg/L) showed a decrease in larval malformations compared to controls, whereas a dose-related increase in developmental defects was observed in the offspring of P. lividus sperm exposed to higher TWE levels (I to 30 mg/L). Algal cell growth bioassays in two species (S. capricornutum and D. tertiolecta) also showed a maximum growth at TWE levels ranging from 0.3 to 3 mg/L and a subsequent decline up to 30 mg/L TWE. D. magna bioassays resulted in daphnid immobilization by TWE concentrations ranging from 100 to 300 mg/L. The results demonstrate that tannins utilized in traditional leather tanning industry may raise concern of environmental damage at relatively high concentrations, whereas low-level tannins may result in hormetic effects. The present study also points to the need for bioassay design that should rely on adequate criteria in control quality, allowing to detect both inhibitory and hormetic effects.