Author(s): Aguilera A, Amils R
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Abstract The effects of selected concentrations of Cd on the growth and ultrastructure of three strains of Chlamydomonas sp. isolated from a highly acidic river, Río Tinto (SW Spain) were examined. The river is characterized by its extreme physico-chemical conditions in terms of low pH, mean 2.2 and high concentrations of heavy metals. Growth, Cd accumulation, chlorophyll a, influence of Fe in Cd toxicity and ultrastructural localization were determined. The strains were cultured in both, artificial chemically defined media as well as in natural water from the river. Since iron is the main component of the river water, the effect of different concentrations of this element in relation with Cd toxicity was also analysed. The three strains analysed showed comparable growth and ultrastructural changes. Cd concentration corresponding to 50\% growth inhibition (EC50) was 0.2 mM when cells were grown in artificial media. When cells were grown in natural water, no significant differences were found between the controls and the Cd supplemented media even at the highest concentration of 0.8 mM. At an inhibitory level of 0.1 mM of Cd, increasing the concentration of iron up to 90 or 180 mM resulted in a dramatic recovery in algal growth rates in artificial media, reaching normal growth curves. The accumulation of Cd depended on dose and time in the artificial media. The maximal accumulation of Cd was reached after 3 days for all Cd doses, and remained almost unchanged in the subsequent period of time. Chlorophyll a amount depended on dose but not on time in the artificial growth media. At the ultrastructural level, an increase in the periplasmalemmal space was observed due to the presence of a large number of vacuoles, together with a decrease in the relative volume of the nucleus when the cells were incubated in the presence of Cd. Pyrenoid and starch granules were observed and accumulation of spherical electron-dense bodies were also detected. X-ray spectra of these bodies for cells growing in artificial acid media showed intense C, O and Cd signals. In addition to these peaks, a strong Fe signal was also observed when cells were grown in natural acidic water.
This article was published in Aquat Toxicol
and referenced in International Journal of Waste Resources