Zinc-induced differential oxidative stress and antioxidant responses in Chlorella sorokiniana and Scenedesmus acuminatus.Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2017 Jun; 140:256-263.EE
Algae are frequently exposed to toxic metals, and zinc (Zn) is one of the major toxicants present. We exposed two green microalgae, Chlorella sorokiniana and Scenedesmus acuminatus, to sub-lethal concentrations (1.0 and 0.6mM) of Zn for seven days. Algal responses were analysed at the level of growth, oxidative stress, and antioxidants. Growth parameters such as cell culture yield and pigment content were less affected by Zn in C. sorokiniana, despite the fact that this alga accumulated more zinc than S. acuminatus. Also, C. sorokiniana, but not S. acuminatus, was able to acclimatize during long-term exposure to toxic concentrations of the test metals (specific growth rate (µ) was 0.041/day and total chlorophyll was 14.6mg/mL). Although, Zn induced oxidative stress in both species, C. sorokiniana experienced less stress than S. acuminatus. This could be explained by a higher accumulation of antioxidants in C. sorokiniana, where flavonoids, polyphenols, tocopherols, glutathione (GSH) and ascorbate (ASC) content increased. Moreover, antioxidant enzymes glutathione S transferase (GST), glutathione reductase (GR), superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POX) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX), showed increased activities in C. sorokiniana. In addition to, and probably also underlying, the higher Zn tolerance in C. sorokiniana, this alga also showed higher Zn biosorption capacity. Use of C. sorokiniana as a bio-remediator, could be considered.