For ecological risk assessment, the additive model may be used to empirically predict toxic mixture effects. Detailed toxicity tests were performed to determine whether effects of mixtures of copper-cadmium and copper-carbendazim on Caenorhabditis elegans were similar to the effects of the individual compounds. Effects on the course of reproduction, the length of the juvenile period, the length of the reproductive period, and body length were analyzed. Dose-response data were compared to the additive model and tested for four deviation patterns from additivity: No deviation, synergistic/antagonistic deviation, dose ratio-dependent deviation, dose level-dependent deviation. During the exposure, the cadmium-copper effect on reproduction changed from a synergistic, to a dose ratio-dependent deviation from additivity. More cadmium in the mixture decreased the toxicity and more copper increased the toxicity. The effect of copper-carbendazim on reproduction was synergistic at low dose levels and antagonistic at high dose levels and independent of time. Mixture effects on the juvenile and reproductive period were similar to single component effects. It was concluded that the observed time-dependence of toxic interactions was small and that interactions on the timing of reproduction were not found. The additive model underestimated mixture effects on reproduction and body length.
- phenotypic plasticity