Simulating CO2 leakages from CCS to determine Zn toxicity using the marine microalgae Pleurochrysis roscoffensis

Due to the current climate change and ocean acidification, a new technology for CO2 mitigation has been proposed, the Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS). However, there is an ecological risk associated with potential CO2 leakages from the sub-seabed storages sites. To evaluate the effects related to CO2 leakages, laboratory-scales experiments were performed using the marine microalgae Pleurochrysis roscoffensis. Five Zn concentrations were tested at different pHs to study Zn toxicity under acidified conditions. Seawater was collected and submitted to acidification by means of CO2 injection and by HCl addition. Results showed differences between both acidification techniques: while microalgae growth was enhanced by CO2 supply, reaching the optimal growth at pH 6.5 and full inhibition at pH 5.5, HCl acidification growth was inhibited at pH 6.5. Although small concentrations of Zn were positive for P. roscoffensis growth, Zn toxicity increased at lower pHs, and more severely on samples acidified with HCl. The conclusions obtained in this work are useful to address the potential effects on the marine ecosystem related to changes in metal bioavailability during CO2 leakages scenarios.

Bautista- Chamizo E., Romanó De Orte M., DelValls T. A. & Riba I., 2016. Simulating CO2 leakages from CCS to determine Zn toxicity using the marine microalgae Pleurochrysis roscoffensis. Chemosphere 144:955–965. Article (subscription required).


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