The use of lipid profiles from immobilised selenastrum capricornutum in the biological surveillance of freshwaters

McLarnon-Riches, Christian James (2000) The use of lipid profiles from immobilised selenastrum capricornutum in the biological surveillance of freshwaters. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

[thumbnail of Thesis document] PDF (Thesis document) - Submitted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.



The use of lipid profiles from the immobilised alga Selenastrum capricornuizim was investigated as a potential indicator of heavy metal pollution in freshwater environments. The toxicity of Cu", Zn 2 and Cd2t on algal growth was determined and
the effective concentration inhibiting specific growth rate by 50 % (EC5 0) for each metal was found to be 124 pM Cu, 20 pM Zn and 5.7 pM Cd respectively. The Cu 24 EC50 value for immobilised cells was also shown to be 124 j.tM, suggesting that Cu exhibits similar toxic effects on growth in both free and immobilised cells.
Studies of the effects of temperature and heavy metal exposure (Cu21, Zn 2 and Cd2 +) on S. caprzcornutum demonstrated that these factors altered the fatty acid and free sterol composition of free algal cells in batch culture. A shift in temperature from 25°C to 10°C led to an increase in the relative proportion of oleate and decrease in linoleate and parinate (18:4), together with a significant increase in the composition of ergostenol. Exposure to heavy metal ions led to an increase in oleate (with all three metals) and altered relative proportions of linoleate and parinate (changes being metal specific). Metal ion treatment also increased a22 desaturation of chondrillasterol. This characteristic lipid signature when S. capricornutum was exposed to heavy metal ions was significantly different from changes associated with other environmental factors.
These changes in lipid composition upon heavy metal treatment were also observed during exposure of S. capricornuiwn to lower metal concentrations typically found in polluted environments.
Studies of cells immobilised within alginate beads showed that gel confinement significantly affected the biochemistry and physiology of algal cells, with a reduction in growth rate and final cells numbers. Scanning electron microscopy demonstrated that growth was mainly limited to the bead periphery. Immobilisation altered the lipid of composition of cells as a consequence of alterations in membrane fluidity and membrane disruption. The Cu uptake from solution was greater in immobilised cells than free cells, thus gel confinement did not confer any protection to cells. The characteristic and
significant changes within the lipid composition of free cells with Cu treatment were similarly observed in immobilised cells but were only apparent at 124 pM Cu.
Thus lipid profiles, especially sterol composition of immobilised algal cells, may potentially be utilised as sensitive and novel indicators of heavy metal pollution in freshwater environments.

Repository Staff Only: item control page