Apr 16, 2002

Effect of initial cell density on the bioavailability and toxicity of copper in microalgal bioassays

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Natasha M FranklinRichard P Lim

Abstract

Algal toxicity tests based on growth inhibition over 72 h have been extensively used to assess the toxicity of contaminants in natural waters. However, these laboratory tests use high cell densities compared to those found in aquatic systems in order to obtain a measurable algal response. The high cell densities and test duration can result in changes in chemical speciation, bioavailability, and toxicity of contaminants throughout the test. With the recent application of flow cytometry to ecotoxicology, it is now possible to use lower initial cell densities to minimize chemical speciation changes. The speciation and toxicity of copper in static bioassays with the tropical freshwater alga Chlorella sp. and the temperate species Selenastrum capricornutum (Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata) were investigated at a range of initial cell densities (10(2)-10(5) cells/ml). Copper toxicity decreased with increasing initial cell density. Copper concentrations required to inhibit growth (cell division) rate by 50% (72-h median effective concentration [EC50]) increased from 4.6 to 16 microg/L for Chlorella sp. and from 6.6 to 17 microg/L for S. capricornutum as the initial cell density increased from 10(2) to 10(5) cells/ml. Measurements of ...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Flow Cytometry
Laboratory Procedures
Extracellular
Toxicity Tests
Protoplasm
Cell Division
Uptake
Copper
Water Pollutants
Chlorella <Chlorellales>

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