Development of a Toxicity Identification Evaluation Protocol Using Chlorophyll- a Fluorescence in a Marine Microalga

Strom, D.; Ralph, P.; Stauber, J.
January 2009
Archives of Environmental Contamination & Toxicology;Jan2009, Vol. 56 Issue 1, p30
Academic Journal
Growth inhibition bioassays with the microalga Nitzschia closterium have recently been applied in marine Toxicity Identification Evaluation (TIE) testing. However, the 48-h test duration can result in substantial loss of toxicants over time, which might lead to an underestimation of the sample toxicity. Although shorter-term microalgal bioassays can minimize such losses, there are few bioassays available and none are adapted for marine TIE testing. The acute (5-min) chlorophyll- a fluorescence bioassay is one alternative; however, this bioassay was developed for detecting herbicides in freshwater aquatic systems and its suitability for marine TIE testing was not known. In this study, a chlorophyll- a fluorescence bioassay using the marine microalga Isochrysis galbana was able to detect contaminants other than herbicides at environmentally relevant concentrations and tolerated the physical and chemical manipulations needed for a Phase I TIE. Phase I TIE procedures were successfully developed using this chlorophyll- a fluorescence bioassay and used to identify all classes of contaminants present in a synthetic mixture of known chemical composition. In addition, TIEs with both the acute fluorescence bioassay and the standard growth inhibition bioassay identified the same classes of toxicants in a sample of an unknown complex effluent. Even though the acute chlorophyll- a fluorescence end point was less sensitive than the chronic cell division end point, TIEs with the chlorophyll- a fluorescence bioassay provided a rapid and attractive alternative to longer-duration bioassays.


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