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Marine pollution bulletin

An evaluation of the toxicity and bioaccumulation of thallium in the coastal marine environment using the macroalga, Ulva lactuca.


PMID 23117203

Abstract

Thallium(I) has been added to cultures of the marine macroalga, Ulva lactuca, for a period of 48 h and the accumulation of the metal and its effects on the photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (PS II) measured. Thallium elicited a measurable toxic response above concentrations of 10 μg L⁻¹ in both coastal seawater (salinity 33) and estuarine water (salinity 20). The accumulation of Tl was defined by a linear relationship with aqueous Tl and accumulation factors of about 900 mL g⁻¹ in both media. Thallium accumulated by U. lactuca that was resistant to an EDTA extraction and, by operational definition, internalised, exceeded 90% in both cases. Accumulation and toxicity of Tl in the presence of a ∼10⁵-fold excess of its biogeochemical analogue, potassium, suggests that Tl has a high intrinsic phytotoxicity and that its mode of action involves permeation of the cell membrane as Tl⁺ through NaCl-KCl co-transporter sites rather than (or in addition to) transport through K⁺ ion channels.

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