Acute toxicity is defined as adverse effects occurring because of short-term administration of a single dose or multiple doses given within 24 h. The most frequently used acute toxicity test is the determination of the median lethal dose (LD50). LD50 has been defined as a statistically derived expression of a single dose of a material that can be expected to kill half of the experimental animals.55
Acute toxicity tests give a quantitative estimate of acute toxicity, identify target organs and other clinical manifestations of acute toxicity, establish the reversibility of toxic responses, and provide dose-ranging guidance for other studies.36 This test is usually a valid predictor of the response seen in humans.60
Some authors recommend accompanying this test with a histological analysis similar to the one conducted with phycocyanin. Table 2.2 shows that the LD50 value for phycocyanin in one study was >5000 mg/kg, which belongs to the "practically nontoxic" category, according to one of the LD50 range tables.61 This value has not been determined for Spirulina and only as much as 800 mg/kg was given to rats with
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