Impact of four pesticides on the growth and metabolic activities of two photosynthetic algae.

Research paper by Fadwa I Y FI Mostafa, Charles S CS Helling

Indexed on: 09 Oct '02Published on: 09 Oct '02Published in: Journal of environmental science and health. Part. B, Pesticides, food contaminants, and agricultural wastes


The acute toxicity was determined for soil algae Chlorella kesslerei and Anabaena inaequalis, exposed to pesticides lindane, pentachlorophenol (PCP), isoproturon (IPU), and methyl parathion (MP). Toxicity markers included growth inhibition, chlorophyll biosynthesis, and total carbohydrate content, as a function of dose and time. Concentration response functions (EC50) were estimated by probit data transformation and weighted linear regression analyses. Lindane's toxicity to Chlorella increased sharply with time (EC50 = 7490, 10.3, 0.09 mg L(-1); 24, 48, 72 h), but remained nearly constant through 72 h with Anabaena (8.7-6.7 mg L(-1); 24-72 h). PCP at low concentrations stimulated algal growth and chlorophyll a production, an effect reversed at higher doses. Anabaena was less tolerant of PCP and MP than was Chlorella. The 96-h static EC50 values for Chlorella were: 0.003, 34, 0.05, and 291 mg L(-1) for lindane, PCP, isoproturon, and MP, respectively; for Anabaena, these were 4.2, 0.13, 0.21, and 19 mg L(-1). Carbohydrate production responses were similar to those of cell density (growth) and chlorophyll biosynthesis, with MP having the lowest adverse impact. The overall relative toxicity among the four tested pesticides was: for Chlorella, lindane > IPU > PCP > MP; and for Anabaena, PCP > IPU > lindane > MP. The results confirm that toxicants such as these pesticides may affect individual (though related) species to significantly different degrees.