Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 19, pp 14820–14828 | Cite as

Phenolic profile of Dunaliella tertiolecta growing under high levels of copper and iron

  • Aroa López
  • Milagros Rico
  • J. Magdalena Santana-Casiano
  • Aridane G. González
  • Melchor González-Dávila
Research Article


The present study investigates the phenolic profile of exudates and extracts of the green algae Dunaliella tertiolecta, harvested in natural seawater in the absence (control) and in the presence of Cu(II) (315 and 790 nmol L−1) and Fe(III) (900 nmol L−1) in order to identify and quantify the phenolic compounds produced under metallic stress conditions. The presence of metal ions modifies the growth of cells and changes cell metabolism by producing phenolic compounds adapted to the solution. The use of reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) permitted the identification of 14 phenolic constituents. The concentration and type of polyphenols detected in cell extracts and in solution are directly related with the metal and its concentration during growth cultures, achieving 1.4 times higher levels of polyphenols under 790 nmol Cu(II) L−1 with respect to the control experiments. Microalga excretes polyphenols to be adapted to the environmental conditions. Gentisic acid, (+) catechin and (−) epicatechin, the most prominent phenolic compounds detected in the algae extracts, showed high antioxidant activity in inhibiting 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radicals. This potent activity may be related to its presence in cells and exudates in high concentrations.


Copper Iron Phenolic compounds Growth inhibition Dunaliella tertiolecta 



This study received financial support from the Project CTM2010-19517-MAR financed by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad in Spain. Our thanks to the Spanish Bank of Algae (BEA) in Gran Canaria for providing algal strains.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aroa López
    • 1
  • Milagros Rico
    • 1
  • J. Magdalena Santana-Casiano
    • 1
  • Aridane G. González
    • 1
  • Melchor González-Dávila
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Química, Facultad de Ciencias del MarUniversidad de Las Palmas de Gran CanariaLas Palmas de Gran CanariaSpain

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