Special Issue "Effects of Mixtures on Ecosystems"


A special issue of Toxics (ISSN 2305-6304).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Marco Vighi

University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (DISAT), P.za della Scienza 1, I-20126 Milano, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +390264482741
Interests: ecotoxicology; ecological risk assessment; persistent organic pollutants; effects of mixtures on ecosystems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ecosystems are never exposed to individual chemicals; they are usually exposed to a variety of potentially toxic chemicals, the composition of which is highly variable in space and time.

The presence of mixtures in the environment is due to different kinds of emission patterns, for example:

•        chemicals used as technical mixtures, such as the formulations of plant protection products or other types of commercial products;

•        chemicals emitted by a given human activity, such as an industrial typology or an agricultural crop;

•        chemicals likely to be present in the environment as a result of multiple emissions derived from all human activities present in a given territory.

Nevertheless, chemicals legislation, in all parts of the world, is based predominantly on assessments carried out on individual substances.

In the last few decades, sound scientific bases have been produced for developing tools for Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) and for proposing regulatory tools for mixtures. An important document on this issue has recently been published by the European Commission (DG SANCO, 2012).

However, a number of knowledge gaps can already be seen, both on exposure and effect, when assessing mixtures. These include the prediction of interactions (synergism and antagonism); the problem of modes on action, if complex biological communities are exposed; and many others.

The scope of this Special Issue is to bring together experimental and predictive approaches for assessing exposure and effects of mixtures on ecosystems, in order to update current knowledge on ERA for mixtures.

Professor Dr. Marco Vighi
Guest Editor


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxics is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


  • mixtures
  • exposure assessment
  • effect assessment
  • ecological Risk Assessment
  • synergism

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessReview Additivity and Interactions in Ecotoxicity of Pollutant Mixtures: Some Patterns, Conclusions, and Open Questions
Toxics 2015, 3(4), 342-369; doi:10.3390/toxics3040342
Received: 29 June 2015 / Revised: 9 September 2015 / Accepted: 23 September 2015 / Published: 25 September 2015
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Understanding the effects of exposure to chemical mixtures is a common goal of pharmacology and ecotoxicology. In risk assessment-oriented ecotoxicology, defining the scope of application of additivity models has received utmost attention in the last 20 years, since they potentially allow one to
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Understanding the effects of exposure to chemical mixtures is a common goal of pharmacology and ecotoxicology. In risk assessment-oriented ecotoxicology, defining the scope of application of additivity models has received utmost attention in the last 20 years, since they potentially allow one to predict the effect of any chemical mixture relying on individual chemical information only. The gold standard for additivity in ecotoxicology has demonstrated to be Loewe additivity which originated the so-called Concentration Addition (CA) additivity model. In pharmacology, the search for interactions or deviations from additivity (synergism and antagonism) has similarly captured the attention of researchers over the last 20 years and has resulted in the definition and application of the Combination Index (CI) Theorem. CI is based on Loewe additivity, but focused on the identification and quantification of synergism and antagonism. Despite additive models demonstrating a surprisingly good predictive power in chemical mixture risk assessment, concerns still exist due to the occurrence of unpredictable synergism or antagonism in certain experimental situations. In the present work, we summarize the parallel history of development of CA, IA, and CI models. We also summarize the applicability of these concepts in ecotoxicology and how their information may be integrated, as well as the possibility of prediction of synergism. Inside the box, the main question remaining is whether it is worthy to consider departures from additivity in mixture risk assessment and how to predict interactions among certain mixture components. Outside the box, the main question is whether the results observed under the experimental constraints imposed by fractional approaches are a de fide reflection of what it would be expected from chemical mixtures in real world circumstances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Mixtures on Ecosystems)

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