Test methods are needed to monitor Cu concentrations in reservoirs and water supplies. Dictyosphaerium chlorelloides (Chlorophyta) cells were immobilized in a silicate sol–gel and the toxic effects of Cu(II) were examined using different techniques: fluorescence measurements (using a spectrofluorometer with an optic fiber coupled to a flow cell or a 96-well-plate reader) or by Pulse Amplitude Modulation (PAM) parameters using a portable instrument and the pulse saturation method. Fm′ and qN were the most sensitive indicator parameters when performing Cu analysis in water. D. chlorelloides PAM biosensor presented a detection limit of 0.6 mg l−1 for Cu(II), within the limits to establish if Cu concentrations exceeded regulatory levels. Moreover, a 1.9 mg Cu l−1 (30 μM) resistant strain of the D. chlorelloides microalgae was produced in order to obtain more selectivity on the metal determination.
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- EC50 :
Effective concentration causing a 50% of variation in the signal (mg l−1)
Fluorescence yield measured briefly before application of the last saturation pulse; normally measured in the presence of actinic light
Maximal fluorescence yield of a dark-adapted sample, with all PSII reaction centers fully closed
Maximal fluorescence yield reached during last saturation pulse with an illuminated sample
Minimal fluorescence yield of a dark-adapted sample, with all PSII reaction centers fully open
Minimal fluorescence yield of a preilluminated membrane containing the algae; determined briefly after turning off the actinic light and after several seconds of far-red illumination to assure full oxidation of PSII acceptors
Fv = Fm − Fo
Limit of detection (mg l−1)
Pulse Amplitude Modulation
Photosynthetically active radiation
Coefficient of photochemical quenching defined by: qP = (Fm′ − F)/(Fm′ − Fo′). It may vary between 0 and 1
Coefficient of nonphotochemical quenching defined by: qN = (Fm − Fm′)/(Fm − Fo′). It may vary between 0 and 1
(=Φ′) Effective quantum yield of photochemical energy conversion at PSII reaction centers calculated according with: Y = (Fm′ − F)/Fm′
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This study received financial support from the Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid (Project S0505/AMB374), the ESF, the ERDF. Elena Peña Vázquez acknowledges the Isidro Parga Pondal Program (Xunta de Galicia) for her research grant in the Complutense University.
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Peña-Vázquez, E., Pérez-Conde, C., Costas, E. et al. Development of a microalgal PAM test method for Cu(II) in waters: comparison of using spectrofluorometry. Ecotoxicology 19, 1059–1065 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10646-010-0487-y
- Dictyosphaerium chlorelloides