Russian Journal of Plant Physiology

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 229–234 | Cite as

The effects of copper and zinc on Spirulina platensis growth and heavy metal accumulation in its cells

  • A. A. Nalimova
  • V. V. Popova
  • L. N. Tsoglin
  • N. A. Pronina


The effects of copper and zinc on Spirulina platensis (Nordst.) Geitl. growth and the capability of this cyanobacterium for accumulation of these heavy metals (HMs) were studied. S. platensis tolerance to HMs was shown to depend on the culture growth phase. When copper was added during the lag phase, its lethal concentration was 5 mg/l, whereas 4 mg/l were lethal during the linear growth phase. Zinc concentration of 8.8 mg/l was lethal during the linear but not lag phase of growth. HM-treated S. platensis cells were capable for accumulation of tenfold more copper and zinc than control cells. Independently of Cu2+ content in the medium and of the growth phase, cell cultures accumulated the highest amount of this metal as soon as after 1 h, which may be partially determined by its primary sorption by cell-wall polysaccharides. A subsequent substantial decrease in the intracellular copper content occurred due to it secretion, which was evident from the increased metal concentration in the culturing medium. When zinc was added during the linear growth phase, similar pattern of its accumulation was observed: the highest content after 1 h and its subsequent decrease to the initial level. When the initial density of the culture was low and the cells had much time to adapt to HM, zinc accumulated during the entire linear growth phase, and thereafter the metal was secreted to the medium. The mechanisms of S. platensis tolerance to HM related to both their sorption by the cell walls and secretion of metal excess into the culturing medium and its conversion into the form inaccessible for the cells are discussed.

Key words

Spirulina platensis heavy metals copper zinc accumulation growth 



heavy metal


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Copyright information

© MAIK “Nauka/Interperiodica” 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. A. Nalimova
    • 1
  • V. V. Popova
    • 1
  • L. N. Tsoglin
    • 1
  • N. A. Pronina
    • 1
  1. 1.Timiryazev Institute of Plant PhysiologyRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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