Aluminum/iodine pentoxide (Al/I2O5) composites are currently receiving much attention for their capabilities as potential anthrax combatants. Their high halogen gas release, coupled with high temperature evolution from combustion, renders them effective in bacterial deactivation. Despite extensive research on the energetic capacities of these compounds, limited information is currently available in relation to their potential environmental (non-target) effects. We evaluated the effects of Al/I2O5 on aquatic (Daphnia magna) and terrestrial (Eisenia fetida, Acheta domesticus) invertebrates, as well as alfalfa (Medicago sativa) seed germination. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, or DuPont Teflon® MP1150) was examined concurrently to assess whether observations were general to halogen, or element specific. Our observations were based on mortality and reproduction (hatchability) for the terrestrial and aquatic assays. In all Al/I2O5 assays, mortality was concentration dependent, ranging from 0% mortality in the control samples to partial and complete mortality in the contaminated cases. The PTFE assays showed no mortality at all contaminant concentrations. At a maximum Al/I2O5 contaminant concentration of 1000 μg/g (ppm), 100% mortality was observed in cricket assay conducted in sand within 72 h exposure and earthworm assay conducted in soil within 4 days exposure. In the aquatic assay, a water concentration of 200 μg/mL (ppm) caused 100% mortality to D. magna in less than 12 h. The effect of aluminum/iodine pentoxide on earthworm cocoon hatching success was also determined. At soil concentrations ≤ 400 μg/g, hatching success for earthworm cocoons was equivalent to control (un-contaminated) soil; above this concentration, hatching success was reduced by a factor of 2. Alfalfa germination tests were performed at a single contaminant concentration of 1000 μg/g. This soil concentration was completely inhibitory to seed germination.
- Aluminum/iodine pentoxide
- Aquatic/terrestrial invertebrates