Toxicity testing of cosmetic ingredients using gametophyte beads of the brown alga Undaria pinnatifida (Laminariales, Phaeophyta)

  • Hojun Lee
  • Juseon Lee
  • Murray T. Brown
  • Jihae Park
  • Christophe Vieira
  • Taejun HanEmail author


A 6-h toxicity test of cosmetic ingredients (methylparaben, 2-phenoxyethanol, sodium dodecyl sulfate, triethanolamine) was developed, based on the photosynthetic maximum quantum yield (Fv/Fm) of immobilized gametophytes of the brown macroalga Undaria pinnatifida. From calculated EC50 values, the toxicity ranking of the tested ingredients is: SDS (0.0060%) > MP (0.0634%) > 2-PE (0.2418%) > TEA (3.7023%). Compared to the results from conventional endpoints with other ecotoxicity test organisms, measurements of Fv/Fm is a more sensitive indicator of the toxic effects of cosmetic ingredients. The present technique is simple, rapid, practical, accurate, and requires little space to carry out. This novel method will be a useful tool for assessing the toxicity of a wide range of cosmetic ingredients once the respective sensitivities are fully established.


Phaeophyceae Undaria pinnatifida Immobilized gametophytes Alginate bead Toxicity test Cosmetic ingredients 


Funding information

This work was supported by a Grant of Incheon National University Research (grant no. 2012-0341).


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Marine ScienceIncheon National UniversityIncheonRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Cosmetic Science and ManagementIncheon National UniversityIncheonRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.School of Marine Science & EngineeringPlymouth UniversityPlymouthUK
  4. 4.Ghent University Global CampusIncheonRepublic of Korea
  5. 5.Phycology Research Group and Center for Molecular Phylogenetics and EvolutionGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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