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Nitrate in fresh waters

Gomez Isaza, D.F.ORCID: 0000-0003-3112-8683 and Rodgers, E.M. (2021) Nitrate in fresh waters. In: Tsadilas, C., (ed.) Nitrate Handbook. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA, pp. 185-208.

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Nitrate is a natural and important component of freshwater ecosystems. Yet, human activities, such as the extensive use of fertilizers, urban wastewater, and aquaculture operations, have significantly increased the concentration of nitrate entering freshwater environments. Nitrate concentrations can nowadays be 10 to 100 times above preindustrial levels, and elevated nitrate concentrations are expected to cause severe consequences to aquatic life. However, the responses of freshwater life to elevated nitrate concentrations are mixed, with some animals showing severe signs of toxicity while others appear unaffected by nitrate, even at extremely high concentrations. This chapter describes the main toxic actions of nitrate to aquatic life and provides a summary of sublethal effects (e.g., impacts on growth, development, histopathology, and endocrine disruption). This chapter also examines how nitrate toxicity is mediated by other environmental variables, such as water temperature, salinity, and other pollutants, to affect aquatic fauna. Finally, this chapter concludes by directing future research on the effects of nitrate on aquatic fauna.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: CRC Press
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