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Environ Int. 2005 Jul;31(5):713-22.

Evaluation of the sensitivity of marine microalgal strains to the heavy metals, Cu, As, Sb, Pb and Cd.

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  • 1Marine Biotechnology Institute, 3-75-1 Heita, Kamaishi, Iwate 026-0001, Japan.


The sensitivity of nine marine microalgal species (consisting of five divisions and seven genera) to the five heavy metals, Cu(II), As(V), Sb(III), Pb(II) and Cd(II) was studied by using a fluorometric growth-inhibition assay with 96-well microplates. The algal strains studied were Cylindrotheca sp. and the LPP group that respectively characterize aggregating and filamentous types, and Chlorococcum littorale, Chlorococcum sp., Isochrysis galbana, Tetraselmis tetrathele, Heterocapsa sp., Synechococcus sp. and Prasinococcus sp. for types that occur as single cells. A good linear relationship was observed between the chlorophyll a concentration and intensity of chlorophyll fluorescence (485-nm excitation filter and 645-nm emission filter) when the chlorophyll a concentration was within the range of 0.10-5.0 microg ml(-1). A starting cell concentration of 0.10 or 0.25 microg Chl a ml(-1) was therefore selected. In accordance with OECD 201 standard procedures, the IC(50) value (concentration of a metal producing 50% growth inhibition relative to the control) was determined 72 h after adding a heavy metal by using the biomass integral. The microplate toxicity test used in this study is considered to be applicable to diverse algae, not only enumerating species but also hardly enumerating ones.

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