Aquatic environments often contain toxic heavy metals that may enter the food web via uptake by microalgae and eventually cause severe poisoning problems at higher trophic levels. The effects of Cd and Zn cations upon growth of two native green microalgal species, Scenedesmus obliquus and Desmodesmus pleiomorphus (previously isolated from a polluted site in Northern Portugal), were accordingly evaluated. Growth inhibition of the microalgal cells was determined following exposure for 96 h to several initial concentrations of aqueous solutions of either of those two metals. At the higher end of Cd and Zn experimental concentration ranges, a significant reduction in cell density was observed in the cultures; EC50 values, calculated after fitting a Weibull model to the experimental data, were 0.058 and 1.92 mg L-1 for Cd and 16.99 and 4.87 mg L-1 for Zn in the case of S. obliquus and D. pleiomorphus, respectively. One observed that S. obliquus can tolerate higher Zn concentrations than D. pleiomorphus, but the reverse holds regarding exposure to Cd.
- Heavy metals
- Weibull model