We studied the acute toxicity of a raw effluent from a battery manufacturing plant (Pilcam) in Douala, Cameroon, to a freshwater fish (Oreochromis niloticus), and subsequently evaluated its sub-acute effects on water quality and the biota in freshwater microscosms. The acute
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We studied the acute toxicity of a raw effluent from a battery manufacturing plant (Pilcam) in Douala, Cameroon, to a freshwater fish (Oreochromis niloticus
), and subsequently evaluated its sub-acute effects on water quality and the biota in freshwater microscosms. The acute toxicity test was based on 96 hrs static renewal bioassays that resulted in 96-h LC50
values of 16 and 20.7% (v/v), respectively. The sub-acute experiments were conducted by exposing several species of aquatic organisms (plankton, macro-invertebrates and mollusks) to lower effluent concentrations [1.6%, 8.0%, 16% (v/v)] for six weeks, and monitoring their survival rates, as well as the physical and chemical characteristics of water. These concentrations were based on 10%, 50%, and 100% of the 96 h - median lethal concentrations (LC50) of the effluent to the freshwater fish, Oreochromis niloticus
. Significant effects on functional parameters, such as, chlorophyll-a and total protein could not be demonstrated. However, the activity of alkaline phosphatase was significantly inhibited at all concentrations tested. Phytoplankton, zooplankton, macro-invertebrate communities and snails were negatively affected by the effluent application at concentrations ≥ 8% (v/v), with chlorophyta, ciliates, ostracoda, annelida, planaria and snails being the most sensitive groups. The snails were eliminated after 24 h exposure from microcosms treated with effluent at concentration ≥ 8% (v/v). Effluent exposure also caused significant effects on water quality parameters (DO, pH, hardness, conductivity, color, turbidity, ammonia) in general at concentrations ≥ 8% (v/v). Temperature and alkalinity were not significantly affected. Overall, data from this research indicate that a dilution of the Pilcam effluent down to 1.6% does not provide protection against chronic toxicity to aquatic organisms. Further studies are needed to determine the no observable adverse effect level (NOAEL), as well as a chronic reference concentration for this effluent.