Vanadium :: all ecosystems

Key Concerns

Vanadium can be toxic to plants, inducing iron-deficiency chlorosis and trace element nutrition, by reducing the levels of managanese, copper, calcium and phosphorous. These effects have been found in plants exposed either via hydroponic solutions or soil. The concentration of vanadium in soil which causes toxic effects in plants may range from 10 to 1300 mg/kg, depending on the plant species, the form of vanadium and the soil type (WHO 1988; WHO 2001).

Ecosystem specific information

Arable habitats – reduced growth of Brassica was reported in sandy soil which contained a vanadium concentration of 80 mg/kg. However, the same concentration in loam soil had no effect on Brassica growth (Kaplan et al. 1990). The difference in toxicity was attributed to increased accumulation of vanadium by plants grown in the sandy soil. Similarly, reduced biomass was reported in soybean seedlings exposed to 30 mg V /kg in fluvo-aquic soil, with no effects found at 75 mg V /kg in oxisol soil derived from red sandstone (Wang and Liu 1999).

Coastal and rocky habitat – LC50 values for marine algae and diatoms were 0.5 and 2 mg/l, respectively, for 15 day exposures (WHO 2001). Miramand and Unsal (1978) ca lculated 9 day LC50 values for various species of marine invertebrates; 10 mg/l (worm Nereis diversicolor), 35 mgl (mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis) and 65 mg/l (crab Carcinus maenus). Early life stages are more sensitive to vanadium toxicity, with a 9 day LC50 value of 0.2-0.3 mg/l reported for brine shrimp (Artemia salina) larvae, with complete lethality reported within 72 hours for early life stages of the sea urchin (Arbaccia lixula) exposed to 0.5 mg/l (Miramand and Fowler 1998). The only LC50 available for marine fish was 27.8 mg/l for dab (Limanda limanda) exposed to vanadium for 96 hours (Taylor et al. 1985).

Freshwater – trace concentrations of vanadium, up to 10 µg/l have been shown to stimulate the growth of some species of algae, although effects on cell division and lethality have been reported in freshwater algae exp osed to 20 to 25 µg/l (WHO 1988). LC50 values for waterflea (Daphnia magna) exposed to vanadium for 48 hours range from 3.1 to 4.1 mg/l (WHO 2001). A chronic No Observed Effect Concentration (NOEC), with reference to daphnia reproduction was 1.13 mg/l (Van der Hoeven 1991). Acute LC50 values for freshwater fish range from 2.6 to 24 mg/l (WHO 2001).

For natural waters, most toxic effects of vanadium occur only at concentrations substantially higher than those reported in the field. Concentrations in industrial areas are also lower than those required to produce toxic effects (WHO 2001).

Environmental limit: 
Critical Load/ Level

No estimate available

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