Acute toxicity of inorganic nitrogen (ammonium, nitrate and nitrite) to tadpoles of five tropical amphibian species

Michiel A. Daam, Paulo Ilha, Luis Schiesari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the higher diversity of amphibians and the increasing use of agrochemicals in tropical countries, knowledge on the ecotoxicity of such compounds to tropical amphibians remains very limited. The aim of this study was, therefore, to assess the acute lethal toxicity of three nitrogen salts (ammonium sulphate, sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite) to tadpoles of five tropical frog species: Rhinella ornata, Boana faber, B. pardalis, Physalaemus cuvieri, and P. olfersii. The order of sensitivity to the nitrogen salts for all five species was sodium nitrite > ammonium sulphate > sodium nitrate. There was not a single most sensitive species to all three nitrogen salts. However, differences in generated 4-d LC50 values between the most and least sensitive test species were small (a factor 2 to 6). A comparison with published toxicity values does not suggest an intrinsic higher, or lower, sensitivity of the tropical species tested as compared to their temperate counterparts. Reported nitrogen concentrations in sugarcane fields do not indicate a lethal risk to the amphibian species tested. Chronic-exposure and field studies are recommended to evaluate amphibian sensitivity under environmental-realistic multiple-stressor conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Amphibians
  • Aquatic ecotoxicology
  • Native species
  • Nitrogen
  • Tropics


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