Istituto di Biofisica     
Morelli E., Fantozzi E. Phytochelatins in the Diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum Bohlin: An Evaluation of their Use as Biomarkers of Metal Exposure in Marine Waters. In: Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, vol. 81 (3) pp. 236 - 241. Springer, 2008.
The feasibility of a bioassay based on the synthesis of phytochelatins to assess metal pollution in aquatic environments was evaluated by using the marine diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Short-term incubation experiments carried out in EDTA-buffered artificial seawater showed increasing cellular phytochelatin concentration with increasing free cadmium, lead or copper in the medium, indicating that phytochelatins behave as a biomarker of exposure to the bioavailable metal fraction. A linear dose-response relationship between metal exposure and phytochelatin synthesis was found in natural seawater samples enriched with known amounts of heavy metals. Phytochelatin induction tests carried out on polluted seawater samples showed an enhanced response compared to that obtained in unpolluted seawater. This finding was found to be consistent mainly with a copper contamination.
DOI: 10.1007/s00128-008-9472-z
Subject Biomarker
Phaeodactylum tricornutum
Trace metals

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