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Azoxystrobin-induced excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and inhibition of photosynthesis in the unicellular green algae Chlorella vulgaris


This study investigated the short-term toxicity of azoxystrobin (AZ), one of strobilurins used as an effective fungicidal agent to control the Asian soybean rust, on aquatic unicellular algae Chlorella vulgaris. The median percentile inhibition concentration (IC50) of AZ for C. vulgaris was found to be 510 μg L−1. We showed that the algal cells were obviously depressed or shrunk in 300 and 600 μg L−1 AZ treatments by using the electron microscopy. Furthermore, 19, 75, and 300 μg L−1 AZ treatments decreased the soluble protein content and chlorophyll concentrations in C. vulgaris and altered the energy-photosynthesis-related mRNA expression levels in 48- and 96-h exposure periods. Simultaneously, our results showed that AZ could increase the total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC) level and compromise superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), glutathione S transferase (GST), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activities, and glutathione (GSH) content. These situations might render C. vulgaris more vulnerable to oxidative damage. Overall, the present study indicated that AZ might be toxic to the growth of C. vulgaris, affect energy-photosynthesis-related mRNA expressions, and induce reactive oxygen species (ROS) overproduction in C. vulgaris.

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Correspondence to Gao-Xue Wang.

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Responsible editor: Henner Hollert

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Liu, L., Zhu, B. & Wang, G. Azoxystrobin-induced excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and inhibition of photosynthesis in the unicellular green algae Chlorella vulgaris . Environ Sci Pollut Res 22, 7766–7775 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-4121-7

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  • Chlorella vulgaris
  • Chlorophyll damage
  • Azoxystrobin
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Oxidative stress
  • mRNA expression