Mercury effects on Thalassiosira weissflogii : Applications of two-photon excitation chlorophyll fluorescence lifetime imaging and flow cytometry

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-140
Journal / PublicationAquatic Toxicology
Online published8 Jan 2012
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


The toxic effects of inorganic mercury [Hg(II)] and methylmercury (MeHg) on the photosynthesis and population growth in a marine diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii were investigated using two methods: two-photon excitation fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) and flow cytometry (FCM). For photosynthesis, Hg(II) exposure increased the average chlorophyll fluorescence lifetime, whereas such increment was not found under MeHg stress. This may be caused by the inhibitory effect of Hg(II) instead of MeHg on the electron transport chain. For population growth, modeled specific growth rate data showed that the reduction in population growth by Hg(II) mainly resulted from an increased number of injured cells, while the live cells divided at the normal rates. However, MeHg inhibitory effects on population growth were contributed by the reduced division rates of all cells. Furthermore, the cell images and the FCM data reflected the morphological changes of diatom cells under Hg(II)/MeHg exposure vividly and quantitatively. Our results demonstrated that the toxigenicity mechanisms between Hg(II) and MeHg were different in the algal cells. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Research Area(s)

  • Fluorescence lifetime, Inorganic mercury, Methylmercury, Phytoplankton, Population development

Citation Format(s)