Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 75, Issue 2, pp 145–154 | Cite as

A Modified Toxicity Testing Method Using Tropical Marine Microalgae

  • Melor Ismail
  • Siew-Moi Phang
  • Soo-Loong Tong
  • Murray T. Brown


Toxicity testing of four heavy metals(Cd, Cu, Mn and As) using four species of tropicalmarine phytoplankton, Chaetoceroscalcitrans, Isochrysis galbana, Tetraselmis tetrahele and Tetraselmis sp., was carried out in multiwellplates with test volumes of 2 mL and the resultscompared to those of standard, large volume,shake-flasks. IC50 values (concentrations of metalsestimated to inhibit 50% growth relative to thecontrol) were determined after 96 hours based onautomated O.D. readings measured in Elisa microplatesby a Multiskan spectrophotometer. Good agreement wasachieved between O.D. readings and cell countsindicating that this new method is a simple,economical, practical and rapid technique for toxicitytesting, and provides good reproducibility of IC50 values. Results of the toxicity testsindicate that Cu was the most toxic metal (averageIC50 values ranging from 0.04 to 0.37 mg L-1), followed by Cd (0.06–5.7 mg L-1), Mn (7.2–21.4 mg L-1) and As (33.9–319.3 mg L-1).Test species had different degrees of sensitivity tothe metals tested, with I.galbana and C. calcitrans the mostsensitive to Cu, Cd and Mn. Based on these findingsit is recommended that the existing Malaysian InterimStandards for Marine Water Quality for Cd and Cu be reviewed.

heavy metals multiwell plates multiskanspectrophotometry toxicity testing tropical marine phytoplankton water quality standards 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melor Ismail
    • 1
  • Siew-Moi Phang
    • 2
  • Soo-Loong Tong
    • 1
  • Murray T. Brown
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Postgraduate Studies and ResearchUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  2. 2.Institute of Biological SciencesUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Plymouth, PlymouthDevonU.K

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