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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2003 Mar;54(3):290-5.

Sediment toxicity tests using benthic marine microalgae Cylindrotheca closterium (Ehremberg) Lewin and Reimann (Bacillariophyceae).

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  • 1Campus Río San Pedro, Instituto de Ciencias Marinas de Andalucía (CSIC), s/n. Apdo. Oficial, 11510 Puerto Real, Cádiz, Spain.


A new method for sediment toxicity testing using marine benthic pennate noncolonial diatom (Cylindrotheca closterium, formerly Nitzschia closterium) has been developed. This microalgae showed a good growth rate during the experimental period, even when low enriched media were used. Sediment spiked with heavy metals [cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), and lead (Pb)] was employed to determine the EC(50) values, using microalgal growth inhibition as the endpoint. The obtained results were as follows: Three heavy metals (Cd, Cu, and Pb), previously spiked on experimental sediment, were separately assayed in toxicity tests. The EC(50) values for these heavy metals in microalgal growth inhibition tests resulted to be 79 mg kg(-1) for Cd, 26 mg kg(-1) for Cu, and 29 mg kg(-1) for Pb (in experimental sediment). The influence of sediment granulometry on the growth of microalgal population was also studied, finding that the growth of the microalgal population on media containing sediment with a relation sand-size:silt size of 9:1 was not different from optimal growth (occurring in media containing 100% sand-sized sediment). The diatom C. closterium proved to be a suitable organism for sediment toxicity tests, due to its sensitivity and fast growth even in poorly enriched media.

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