The impact of elevated atmospheric CO2 on cadmium toxicity in Pyropia haitanensis (Rhodophyta)

Cadmium is one of the major heavy metal pollutions in coastal waters, and it is well known that cadmium at trace concentration is toxic to macroalgae. Change in marine carbonate system and ocean acidification caused by elevated atmospheric CO2 also alter physiological characteristics of macroalgae. However, less research is focused on the combined impacts of elevated CO2 and cadmium pollution on the growth and physiology in macroalgae. In this study, the maricultivated macroalga Pyropia haitanensis (Rhodophyta) was cultured at three levels of Cd2+ (control, 4 and 12 mg L−1) and two concentrations of CO2, the ambient CO2 (AC, 410 ppm) and elevated CO2 (HC, 1100 ppm). The results showed that 12 mg L−1 Cd2+ significantly suppressed the relative growth rate and superoxide dismutase activity in AC-grown P. haitanensis, while such inhibition extents by Cd2+ were alleviated in HC-grown algae. Cd2+ had no effects on efficiency of electron transport (α) and maximum electron transport rate (ETRmax), but α was increased by elevated CO2. Cd2+ dramatically suppressed the maximum net photosynthesis oxygen evolution rate (NPRm) and the minimum saturation irradiance (Ik) when the algal thalli were grown at AC, while such suppression of NPRm by Cd2+ was much decreased when the thalli were grown at HC. Collectively, our results suggested that elevated CO2 would alleviate Cd2+ toxicity on P. haitanensis.

Ma H., Zou D., Wen J., Ji Z., Gong J. & Liu C., in press. The impact of elevated atmospheric CO2 on cadmium toxicity in Pyropia haitanensis (Rhodophyta). Environmental Science and Pollution Research. Article (subscription required).


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