Risk assessment of excessive CO2 emission on diatom heavy metal consumption

Diatoms are the dominant group of phytoplankton in the modern ocean, accounting for approximately 40% of oceanic primary productivity and critical foundation of coastal food web. Rising dissolution of anthropogenic CO2 in seawater may directly/indirectly cause ocean acidification and desalination. However, little is known about dietary diatom-associated changes, especially for diatom heavy metal consumption sensitivity to these processes, which is important for seafood safety and nutrition assessment. Here we show some links between ocean acidification/desalination and heavy metal consumption by Thalassiosira weissflogii. Excitingly, under desalination stress, the relationships between Cu, Zn, and Cd were all positively correlated, especially between Cu and Zn (r = 0.989, total intracellular concentration) and between Zn and Cd (r = 0.962, single-cell intracellular concentration). Heavy metal consumption activity in decreasing order was acidification < acidification + desalination < desalination for Zn, acidification < desalination < acidification + desalination for Cu and Cd, i.e., heavy metal uptake (or release) were controlled by environmental stress. Our findings showed that heavy metal uptake (or release) was already responded to ongoing excessive CO2 emission-driven acidification and desalination, which was important for risk assessment of climate change on diatom heavy metal consumption, food web and then seafood safety in future oceans.

Liu F., Li S., Zheng F. & Huang X., in press. Risk assessment of excessive CO2 emission on diatom heavy metal consumption. Science of The Total Environment. Article (subscription required).

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