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Metal cation toxicity in the alga Gracilaria domingensis as evaluated by the daily growth rates in synthetic seawater

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Abstract

Macroalgae of the genus Gracilaria have considerable economic importance as raw material for agar production and belong to an important group of organisms that are tolerant of high concentrations of metal. The median inhibitory concentration (IC50) values obtained by measuring the ratio of fresh mass variation (i.e., daily growth rates) of the red macroalga Gracilaria domingensis during a 48-h aquatic toxicity assay are reported here. The alga was exposed to 14 different metal cations as well as the molybdate anion in synthetic seawater. The actual concentrations of these ionic species (at IC50 values) and the proportion of free ions (aqueous complexes) were determined by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy and the Environmental Protection Agency-recommended software, MINTEQA2, respectively. Based on the free IC50 values (IC50 F), the ions were ranked in terms of toxicity: Cd2+ ≫ Cu2+ ≫ Pb2+ ≫ Zn2+ ≫ Ni2+ > Co2+ > La3+ ≫ Mn2+ > Ca2+ ~ Li+ ≫ MoO4 2− ≫ Sr2+ > Mg2+ ≫ K+ > Na+. As a member of the first trophic level in the marine food chain, G. domingensis is an appropriate target organism both for the development of toxicological assays and as a bioindicator of marine degradation.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful for the financial and technical support of this study from the following institutions and people: Ministério de Ciência e Tecnologia, CNPq, NAP-Biodiversidade Marinha, INCT-Redoxoma, Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo-FAPESP: 09/54718-4 (L.F.M), N.S. Yokoya (curator of Seaweed Culture Collection of Institute of Botany, São Paulo), and NAP-PhotoTech (the USP Research Consortium for Photochemical Technology) from C. V. Stevani.

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Correspondence to Luiz Fernando Mendes.

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Mendes, L.F., Zambotti-Villela, L., Colepicolo, P. et al. Metal cation toxicity in the alga Gracilaria domingensis as evaluated by the daily growth rates in synthetic seawater. J Appl Phycol 25, 1939–1947 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10811-013-0036-1

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