The credibility of using an algal plant as a surrogate for vascular plants in chemical toxicity testing was evaluated. Data taken from the PHYTOTOX database were used to estimate what proportion of the chemicals reported to influence vascular plants would also influence algae. The relative sensitivity of algae versus vascular plants to common herbicides was also examined. Analysis of the data suggested that approximately 20% of the time an algal screening test for chemical toxicity may not detect chemicals that elicit a response unique to the growth and development of vascular plants. Another conclusion was that no single plant type (algal, monocotyledon, or dicotyledon plant) can always be viewed as the least or most sensitive test system.
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