Performance of Chlorella Vulgaris Exposed to Heavy Metal Mixtures: Linking Measured Endpoints and Mechanisms.

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Nora ExpósitoGemma Giménez Papiol


Microalgae growth inhibition assays are candidates for referent ecotoxicology as a fundamental part of the strategy to reduce the use of fish and other animal models in aquatic toxicology. In the present work, the performance of Chlorella vulgaris exposed to heavy metals following standardized growth and photosynthesis inhibition assays was assessed in two different scenarios: (1) dilutions of single heavy metals and (2) an artificial mixture of heavy metals at similar levels as those found in natural rivers. Chemical speciation of heavy metals was estimated with Visual MINTEQ software; free heavy metal ion concentrations were used as input data, together with microalgae growth and photosynthesis inhibition, to compare different effects and explain possible toxicity mechanisms. The final goal was to assess the suitability of the ecotoxicological test based on the growth and photosynthesis inhibition of microalgae cultures, supported by mathematic models for regulatory and decision-making purposes. The C. vulgaris algae growth inhibition test was more sensitive for As, Zn, and Pb exposure whereas the photosynthesis inhibition test was more sensitive for Cu and Ni exposure. The effects on growth and photosynthesis were not relate...Continue Reading


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