Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 691–708 | Cite as

An introduction to copper and zinc pollution in macroalgae: for use in remediation and nutritional applications

  • Alexander W. GeddieEmail author
  • Steven G. Hall


Macroalgae are an economically significant and fast-growing global commodity. However, pollution significantly affects the production and quality of macroalgae. Various studies have shown copper and zinc concentrations above 20 ppb (Cu) and 30 ppb (Zn) generally inhibit macroalgae growth. However, accumulation of metals in macroalgae is affected by several different factors, substances, and processes. Currently, not all of these factors, such as salinity, are well-understood and require further research. This review provides some background information on the biology and uses of macroalgae, as well as the kinetics of metal accumulation, the role of copper and zinc as toxic substances in macroalgae, and defensive mechanisms that macroalgae use to protect against metal toxicity from those metals. Finally, it describes various ways in which copper and zinc accumulation in macroalgae could be used in multiple beneficial applications.


Macroalgae Copper Zinc Aquatic pollution 


Funding information

The work is supported through funding from the North Carolina State University Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and the William White Endowment of the NC Agriculture Foundation and the North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.North Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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