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Diss Factsheets

Ecotoxicological information

Endpoint summary

Administrative data

Description of key information

Additional information

Studies on the toxicity of the reaction mass of ammonium sulphate and potassium sulfate and sodium sulphate to terrestrial organisms are not available. Neither the substance nor its components are expected to accumulate and persist in soil due to their high water solubility and their ionic nature. Even though ammonium may adsorb to soil and suspended matter a rapid nitrification of the substance and subsequently a lower adsorption potential is anticipated. Thus detrimental effects of the substance to terrestrial organisms are not expected.

In the terrestrial environment the main toxic effect of ammonium sulphate is induced by a reduction in soil pH that occurs in the absence of liming. The most sensitive terrestrial species are the soil microorganisms, where the abundance of nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria in a Spanish rice field was reduced significantly following an application of 82.5 kg/ha ammonium sulphate. The lowering of soil pH by ammonium sulphate was the main cause of the reduction in the nitrogen-fixing capacity of the soil (Fernandez et al., 2000, cited in OECD SIDS 2007). Similarly in a study on lumbricid earthworms, ammonium sulphate (5 applications per year of 60 - 180 kg N/ha had effects on earthworm numbers and biomass, but again, these effects were attributed to the lowering of pH observed in parallel with ammonium sulphate application in the absence of liming (Ma et al., 1990, OECD SIDS 2007). The most sensitive species determined in studies on terrestrial plants was Picea abies. The application of ammonium sulphate at 471 kg/ha/y for six consecutive years had an effect on its drought resistance capabilities (Rosengarten-Brinck and Nihlgard, 1995, cited in OECD SIDS 2007). The abundance of two soil dwelling species, Collembola and Cryptostigmata (family Acarina, mites) increased under the application of ammonium sulphate, at 708 kg/ha/y, over 2 years (Heneghan and Bolger, 1996, cited in OECD SIDS 2007). Although the exposure of the predacious diving beetle Thermonactus basillaris resulted in 4.4% mortality following the application of 35.29 kg/ha of ammonium sulphate (Apgar et al., 1985, cited in OECD SIDS 2007).