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Microsc Res Tech. 2005 Apr 1;66(5):229-38.

Cadmium distribution and effects on ultrastructureand chlorophyll status in photobionts and mycobionts of Xanthoria parietina.

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Dipartimento di Biologia Evolutiva e Funzionale, Università di Parma, 43100 Parma, Italy.


In this work, we tried to go deeper inside distribution and toxicity of cadmium (Cd) in the macrolichen Xanthoria parietina (L.) Th. Fr. Thalli of this species were treated with 0 (control), 4.5, 9, 18, or 36 muM Cd for 24 or 48 hours. Transmission electron microscopy, X-ray microanalysis, and electron energy loss spectroscopy were exploited to study distribution and ultrastructural effects of Cd in thalli; spectrophotometric techniques were utilized for measuring Cd effects on chlorophyll (Chl) content; light fluorescence microscopy was used to evaluate Chl autofluorescence. The highest Cd concentration caused ultrastructural alterations both in the mycobiont and in the photobiont, more severe in the latter, decreased total Chl content and progressively quenched Chl autofluorescence. Cell wall immobilization was observed in both bionts, and evidence pointing to a Cd-binding ability by the concentric bodies in the mycobiont was also obtained. Lower Cd concentrations led to slight or even no effects on thallus structures and on Chl content and autofluorescence. The results obtained suggest that: (1) among the two bionts, the algal partner appears to be more susceptible to Cd stress, probably because of the presence of delicate and sensitive components such as the chloroplast and photosynthetic pigments; (2) a concentration threshold exists for the occurrence of evident structural and functional damage in X. parietina thalli exposed to Cd.

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