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Induction of Oxidative Stress in the Red Macroalga Gracilaria tenuistipitata by Pollutant Metals

  • J. Collén
  • E. Pinto
  • M. Pedersén
  • P. Colepicolo
Article

Abstract

Heavy metals are environmental pollutants that have the potential to induce severe stress-reactions in organisms on land as well as in the sea. We have studied effects of short term sublethal concentrations of copper (Cu2+) and cadmium (Cd2+) on the reactive oxygen metabolism of the marine red macroalga Gracilaria tenuistipitata. Additions of either 0.2 ppm Cu2+ or 1 ppm Cd2+ caused decreased growth (∼60%), increased oxidation of lipids and increased oxidative damage to proteins as shown by increased content of protein carbonyl groups. Together this strongly suggests an induction of oxidative stress. Cu2+ caused more oxidative damage than Cd2+. As a response to the increased oxidative stress, addition of Cu2+ induced the activities of catalase, ascorbate peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase. In contrast, Cd2+ only caused increased catalase activity. Ten-fold lower concentrations of the metals did not cause an increase in enzyme activity. Both heavy metals also increased the content of the antioxidants β-carotene and lutein. The results show that Cd2+ and, to a larger extent, Cu2+ induce oxidative stress in short-term experiments and the seaweed responds by increasing the activity of the reactive oxygen metabolism.

Keywords

Oxidative Stress Heavy Metal Cadmium Superoxide Carbonyl 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Collén
    • 1
  • E. Pinto
    • 1
  • M. Pedersén
    • 2
  • P. Colepicolo
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Bioquímica, Universidade de São Paulo, CP 26077, CEP 05599-970, São Paulo, SPBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Botany, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 StockholmSweden

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