INSTITUTO DE LIMNOLOGIA "DR. RAUL A. RINGUELET"
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Short-term toxicity of hexavalent-chromium to epipsammic diatoms of a microtidal estuary (Río de la Plata): Responses from the individual cell to the community structure.
LICURSI M.; GÓMEZ N.
ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Lugar: Amsterdam; Año: 2013 p. 82 - 82
Diatoms are an integral and often dominant component of the benthic microalgal assemblage in estuarine and shallow coastal environments. Different toxic substances discharged into these ecosystems persist in the water, sediments, and biota for long periods. Among these pernicious agents, the toxicity in diatoms by metal is linked to different steps in the transmembrane and internal movements of the toxicant, causing perturbations in the normal structural and functional cellular components. These changes constitute an early, nontaxonomic warning signal that could potentially serve as an indicator of this type of pollution. The aim of this work was to study the environment-reflecting short-term responses at different levels of organization of epipsammic diatoms from the Río de la Plata estuary, Argentina that had been exposed to hexavalent chromium within experimental microcosms. To this end we monitored: (i) changes in the proportion of the diatoms in relation to other algal groups at the biofilm community level; (ii) shifts in species composition at the diatom-assemblage level; (iii) projected changes in the densities of the most representative species at the population level through comparison of relative growth rates and generation times; and (iv) the cytological changes at the cellular and subcellular levels as indicated by the appearance of teratological effects on individuals and nuclear alterations. The epipsammic biofilms were exposed for 96 h to chromium at a concentration similar to that measured in highly impacted sites along the coast (80 ug L−1). Chromium pollution, at this concentration and short exposure time did not affect the algal biomass and density of these mature biofilms. The biofilm composition, however, did change, as reflected in a decline in cyanophytes and an increment in the proportions of diatoms and chlorophytes; with Hippodonta hungarica, Navicula novaesiberica, Nitzschia palea, and Sellaphora pupula being the most frequent and abundant species. The most notable shifts related to chromium exposure were a decrease in the relative abundance of H. hungarica and a significant increase in the proportion of N. palea. Moreover, the species analyzed in the treatment microcosms showed higher growth rates than in the controls ? N. palea grew faster, while H. hungarica replicated more slowly. The total nuclear abnormalities ? as recorded in Fallacia pygmaea and N. novaesiberica ? were significantly higher in the treatment microcosms; whereas in N. palea, the dominant species in treatment microcosms, neither nuclear alterations nor abnormal frustules were observed.