- Stress-physiological reactions of the green alga Scenedesmus opoliensis to water pollution with herbicides

Stress-physiological reactions of the green alga Scenedesmus opoliensis to water pollution with herbicides


*Babes-Bolyai University, Department of Biology, Cluj-Napoca, Romania Corresponding author: Laszlo Fodorpataki, Babes-Bolyai University, Department of Biology, 1 Kogalniceanu Str., 400084 Cluj-Napoca, Romania, tel.: 0040264431858, fax: 0040264431858, [email protected]

Analele Universitatii din Oradea, Fascicula Biologie [Tom. XVI / 1, 2009, pp. 51-56]


The freshwater green alga Scenedesmus opoliensis proves to be a suitable bioindicator of water pollution with different herbicides. One of the best molecular markers of stress condition imposed by herbicides is overproduction of malondialdehyde resulting from lipid peroxidation in the damaged membranes. Methylviologen, a largely used pre-emergence herbicide which generates reactive oxygen species in the illuminated chloroplasts, triggers the accumulation of ascorbic acid and enhances the enzymatic activity of catalase, both of these substances being involved in the antioxidative protection of algal cells. Diuron, a herbicide that inhibits photosynthetic electron transport on the acceptor side of photosystem II, causes a decline in oxygen production and in biomass accumulation of algae. Glufosinate induces accumulation of toxic ammonia and leads to enhanced net oxygen production, associated with a low rate of carbon assimilation. Long-term exposure to micromolar concentrations of herbicides results in significant changes in the rate of cell division, in photosynthetic parameters and in the intensity of antioxidative defense. A proper bioindication of toxic effects of herbicides on algae requires a selected combination of different physiological and biochemical parameters which reflect the degree of stress exerted on living organisms by water pollution with xenobiotic organic compounds.

Keywords: algal biomass, antioxidants, environmental stress, lipid peroxidation, molecular indicators, water pollution

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