Role of speciation in organotin toxicity to the yeast Candida maltosa

Jane S. White, John M. Tobin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Assessment of organometal pollution requires an understanding of the various processes that influence the bioavailability and toxicity of the contaminant. Organotins may exist as both cationic species and neutral hydroxides in aqueous solution, with the formation of chloride species in the presence of Cl-. Although these species have different chemical properties, there is very little information on the influence of speciation on organotin and microbial cell interactions. Tributyltin (TBT) and triphenyltin (TPT) interactions with the yeast Candida maltosa were investigated between pH 3.5 and 7.5 and in up to 0.5 M NaCl at pH 5.5. Toxicity increased with both pH and NaCl concentration and the mechanisms of interaction depended on the species present in solution. TBT and TPT interacted by different mechanisms, as evidenced by action on membrane fluidity. Furthermore, there was a strong correlation between toxicity and overall octanol-water distribution ratio (Dow) of organotin compounds. Triorganotin cations are less toxic than triorganotin hydroxides, which are in turn less toxic than triorganotin chlorides. These findings underline the importance of speciation effects on organotin interactions in the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3877-3884
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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