Kinetic measurements of metal accumulation in two marine macroalgae

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-23
Journal / PublicationMarine Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes


We measured the uptake kinetics of four metals (Cd, Cr, Se and Zn) in two marine macroalgae (the green alga Ulva lactuca and the red alga Gracilaria blodgettii). Metal uptake generally displayed a linear pattern with increasing exposure time. With the exception of Cr, which exhibited comparable uptake rate constants at different concentrations, uptake rate constants of Cd, Se and Zn decreased with increasing metal concentration, indicating that the seaweeds had a higher relative uptake at lower metal concentration. Uptake of Cd and Zn was higher in U. lactuca than in G. blodgettii, whereas uptake of Cr and Se was comparable between the two species. Only Cd and Zn uptake in U. lactuca was significantly inhibited by dark exposure. A decrease in salinity from 28 to 10‰ enhanced the uptake of Cd, Cr, Se and Zn in U. lactuca 1.9-, 3.0-, 3.6-, and 1.9-fold, respectively. In G. blodgettii, Cd uptake increased two-fold when salinity was decreased from 28 to 10‰, whereas uptake of Cr and Zn was not significantly affected by salinity change. The calculated deputation rate constants of metals in U. lactuca were 0.01 d-1 for Cd, 0.05 to 0.08 d-1 for Cr, 0.14 to 0.16 d-1 for Se, and 0.12 to 0.15 d-1 for Zn, and were relatively independent of the metal body burden in the algae. The predicted bioconcentration factor was 3 x 104 for Cd, 2 x 103 for Cr, 40 to 150 for Se, and 1 to 2 x 104 for Zn in U. lactuca. Our kinetic study suggested that U. lactuca would be a good biomonitor of Cr and Zn contamination in coastal waters.