Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 1999–2009 | Cite as

Assessment of uptake and phytotoxicity of cyanobacterial extracts containing microcystins or cylindrospermopsin on parsley (Petroselinum crispum L.) and coriander (Coriandrum sativum L)

  • Ana L. Pereira
  • Joana Azevedo
  • Vitor Vasconcelos
Research Article


Blooms of harmful cyanobacteria that synthesize cyanotoxins are increasing worldwide. Agronomic plants can uptake these cyanotoxins and given that plants are ultimately ingested by humans, this represents a public health problem. In this research, parsley and coriander grown in soil and watered through 7 days with crude extracts containing microcystins (MCs) or cylindrospermopsin (CYN) in 0.1–1 μg mL−1 concentration range were evaluated concerning their biomass, biochemical parameters and uptake of cyanotoxins. Although biomass, chlorophylls (a and b), carotenoids and glutathione-S-transferase of parsley and coriander exposed to the crude extracts containing MC or CYN had shown variations, these values were not statistically significantly different. Protein synthesis is not inhibited in coriander exposed to MC or CYN and in parsley exposed to MC. Also, glutathione reductase (GR) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) in parsley and coriander was not affected by exposure to MC, and in coriander, the CYN did not induce statistically significant differences in these two antioxidative enzymes. Only parsley showed statistically significant increase in protein content exposed to 0.5 μg CYN mL−1 (3.981 ± 0.099 mg g−1 FW) compared to control (2.484 ± 0.145 mg g−1 FW), statistically significant decrease in GR exposed to 0.1 μg CYN mL−1 (0.684 ± 0.117 nmol min−1 mg−1 protein) compared to control (1.30 ± 0.06 nmol min−1 mg−1 protein) and statistically significant increase in GPx exposed to 1 μg CYN mL−1 (0.054 ± 0.026 nmol min−1 mg−1 protein) compared to 0.5 μg CYN mL−1 (0.003 ± 0.001 nmol min−1 mg−1 protein). These changes may be due to the induction of defensive mechanisms by plants by the presence of toxic compounds in the soil or probably to a low generation of reactive oxygen species. Furthermore, the parsley and coriander leaves and stems after 10 days of exposure did not accumulate microcystins or cylindrospermopsin.


Parsley Coriander Microcystins Cylindrospermopsin Chlorophylls Carotenoids Antioxidative enzymes Uptake 



European Social Funding (FSE) under the Human Potential Operational Program (POPH) of National Strategic Reference Board (QREN) supports the fellowship SFRH/BPD/44459/2008 to Ana L. Pereira. This research was partially supported by the Strategic Funding UID/Multi/04423/2013 through national funds provided by FCT—Foundation for Science and Technology and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), in the framework of the program PT2020. Thanks are given to Benedita Monteiro and Catarina Santos for the growth, extraction and quantification of microcystins from M. aeruginosa and cylindrospermopsin from A. ovalisporum respectively.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR/CIMAR), BBE (Blue Biotechnology and Ecotoxicology)University of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Department of BiologyFaculty of Sciences of the University of PortoPortoPortugal

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