Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 150, Issue 2, pp 197–202 | Cite as

Algae sequester heavy metals via synthesis of phytochelatin complexes

  • Walter Gekeler
  • Erwin Grill
  • Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker
  • Meinhart H. Zenk
Original Papers


A Cd-binding complex was isolated from Chlorella fusca and has been shown to be composed of phytochelating peptides, (γ-Glu-Cys) n -Gly, n=2–5. Members of six of the ten classes of Phycophyta revealed phytochelatin synthesis after exposure to cadmium ions. Phytochelatin was also induced by ions of lead, zinc, silver, copper and mercury. These experiments uneqiovocally demonstrated that algae sequester heavy metals by an identical mechanism as higher plants, namely via complexation to phytochelatins.

Key words

Algae Heavy metal Glutathione Phytochelatin Sulfide Metallothionein Inducible Cd-binding complex Chlorella fusca 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter Gekeler
    • 1
  • Erwin Grill
    • 1
  • Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker
    • 2
  • Meinhart H. Zenk
    • 1
  1. 1.Pharmazeutische Biologie der Universität MünchenMünchen 2Germany
  2. 2.Genzentrum der Universität MünchenMartinsriedGermany

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