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Action of sublethal doses of heavy metals on the growth characteristics of the diatom skeletonema costatum

Action of sublethal doses of heavy metals on the growth characteristics of the diatom skeletonema costatum

Marine Biology (Berlin) 42(1): 17-30

Sublethal effects of Hg, Ca and Cu on the diatom S. costatum (Grev.) Cleve, grown in batch and bacteria-free culture, are studied. Division rate, maximum yield growth, mean cell volume, particulate C and N, and 14C-bicarbonate uptake are used as toxic impairment criteria. Division rate is the 1st-affected and most sensitive parameter, but algal responses vary according to the metal. Hg produces an acute decrease in division rate, followed by a temporary recovery of growth capacity within the 1st 48 h after metal addition. Cd, on the other hand, increases division rate, followed by an obvious decrease. Cu reduces division rate slowly or quickly, depending on the metal concentration. Cell synthesis capacity (culture biovolume, particulate C and N, C assimilation) is less affected than division rate, especially with Hg. The C:N cell ratio is unchanged at sublethal concentrations, even when production is reduced. The mean cell volume is slightly affected. The variations are not greater than those of the control during its growth phases. Markedly teratological forms are never observed. Many parameters and growth kinetic aspects must be considered to fully appreciate the effects of sublethal concentrations of heavy metals.

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Accession: 004661059

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