American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Toxicological Response of the Green Alga Chlorella vulgaris, to Some Heavy Metals

E. Afkar, H. Ababna and A. A. Fathi

DOI : 10.3844/ajessp.2010.230.237

American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Volume 6, Issue 3

Pages 230-237


Problems statement: The disturbance of aquatic ecosystems provoked by heavy metals pollution from industrial and domestic sources, has as consequence the loss of biological diversity, as well as increased bioaccumulation and magnification of toxicants in the food chain. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of some heavy metals on some physiological activities of Chlorella vulgaris beyerinck with special references to metal bioaccumulation. Approach: Chlorella vulgaris Beyerinck was isolated from Al-Asfar Lake, Al-Hassa, Saudi Arabia. A standard initial inoculum of the isolated algae was inoculated to culture flasks. The culture flasks were supplied with various concentrations of Cobalt, Copper and Zinc ranging from 10-6-10-9 M. At the end of the incubation period cultures were filtered and washed several times by distilled water for measurements the various experimental parameters. Results: The data show that the lower doses of the three tested metals had stimulatory effect in biomass yield of Chlorella vulgaris, whereas the higher doses were inhibitory depending on the type of the metal. The inhibitory effect of copper to the growth parameters of Chlorella vulgaris was more pronounced than other two tested metals. The total protein content, total carbohydrate and the total free amino acids of the tested green alga Chlorella vulgaris gradually decreased in a manner dependent on the metal concentration in the medium. On the other hand, bioaccumulation of cobalt, copper and zinc by Chlorella vulgaris cells were parallel to increasing the concentrations in the culture medium. Conclusion: The inhibitory and stimulatory effects of either of the used heavy metals depend on concentration. Different organisms, however, have different sensitivities to the same metal and the same organisms may be more or less damaged by different metals. The uptake of an element from the surrounding medium is seldom exactly proportional to the amount present in the water.


© 2010 E. Afkar, H. Ababna and A. A. Fathi. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.