Siti Afida, I*; Noorazah, Z and Razmah, G

1Advanced Oleochemical Technology Division (AOTD), Malaysian Palm Oil Board,

6, Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia

*Correspomdimg author. Email: siti.afida@mpob.gov.my


ABSTRACT. The critical micelle concentration (CMC) is the concentration of surfactants above which micelles are formed. The effects of CMC of methyl ester sulfonates (MES) on ecotoxicological behaviour of freshwater organisms in predicting the risk levels contributed from the surfactant used were determined. The surface tension of palm-based MES with various carbon chain lengths (C12, C14 and C16) was measured to determine the CMC. Ecotoxicity tests were conducted on three different aquatic organisms: green algae (Raphidocelis subcapitata), freshwater crustacean (Daphnia magna) and freshwater fish (Tilapia nilotica). The effective concentration of MES that caused 50% fish mortality (LC50), crustacean immobilization (EC50) and algae inhibition (EC50) was determined. Through surface tension analyses, the CMC obtained for MES C12, C14 and C16 was 1000 mg/L, 900 mg/L and 12 mg/L, respectively. The LC50 of MES C12, C14 and C16 were 391 mg/L, 22.6 mg/L and 12.6 mg/L, respectively, in fish. The crustacean EC50 of MES C12, C14 and C16 were >100 mg/L, 77.6 mg/L, and 1.15 mg/L. Meanwhile, algae EC50 of MES C12, C14 and C16 was 541 mg/L, 399 mg/L and >10 mg/L, respectively. Relative comparison showed that D. magna was observed to be more sensitive compared to R. subcapitata and T. nilotica towards MES of the same chain length. A linear relationship was observed between CMC and ecotoxicity values. The lower the CMC value, the lower is the LC50 or EC50 value and the surfactant becomes more toxic. It is suggested that the CMC value can be used as a toxicity indicator for anionic surfactant by considering that the EC50 value of a surfactant will be reached before its CMC value.

KEYWORDS: CMC, Ecotoxicity, Aquatic organisms, Environment


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