Qualitative short-term effects of cyanide and heavy metal pollution on phytoplankton and periphyton in the Rivers Tisza and Szamos (Hungary).
Kiss, K.T.; Acs, E.; Barkacs, K.; Borics, G.; Böddi, B.; Ector, L.; Solymos, G. K.; Szabo, K.; Varga, A.; Varga, I.
In early spring 2000, two incidents of bursting dams in the mines Baia Mare and Baia Borsa (Romania) produced peak amounts of cyanide (32 mg 1-1) and heavy metals (mostly lead [2.9 mg 1-1 in April], copper [18 mg 1-1 in February and 0.86 mg 1-1 in April] and zinc [0.95 mg 1-1 in February and 2.9 mg 1-1 in April] - data at the Romanian-Hungarian border section). A major fish kill and severe damage of benthos populations resulted. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of the accident on planktonic and periphytic algae. Apart from detailed taxonomic information, diversity, evenness and diatom indices, chlorophyll-a analysis, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (TXRF), spectral analysis and SEM were applied. While transient damage of periphyton, especially the sensitive Chladophora glomerata, could be detected in the River Tisza, the phytoplankton did not respond. Flooding may have prevented effects by dilution. The problems related to algae as suitable biota for immediate spill effects are discussed.