Ecotoxicology and environmental safety

Effects of chlorpyrifos on the growth and ultrastructure of green algae, Ankistrodesmus gracilis.

PMID 26099464


The effect of the organophosphorus insecticide chlorpyrifos on the growth, biovolume, and ultrastructure of the green microalga Ankistrodesmus gracilis was evaluated. Concentrations of 9.37, 18.75, 37.5, 75 and 150mgL(-1) of chlorpyrifos were assayed along with a control culture. At the end of the bioassay the ultrastructure of algal cells from control culture and from cultures exposed to 37.5 and 150mgL(-1) was observed under transmission (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). After 24 and 48h, treatments with 75 and 150mgL(-1) inhibited the growth of A. gracilis; whereas after 72 and 96h, all the treatments except at 9.37mgL(-1) significantly affected the algae growth. The effective concentration 50 (EC50) after 96h was 22.44mgL(-1) of chlorpyrifos. After the exposure to the insecticide, an increase in the biovolume was observed, with a larger increase in cells exposed to 75 and 150mgL(-1). Radical changes were observed in the ultrastructure of cells exposed to chlorpyrifos. The insecticide affected the cell shape and the distribution of the crests in the wall. At 37.5mgL(-1) electodense bodies were observed along with an increase in the size and number of starch granules. At 150mgL(-1) such bodies occupied almost the whole cytoplasm together with lipids and remains of thylakoids. Autospores formation occurred normally at 37.5mgL(-1) while at 150mgL(-1) karyokinesis occurred, but cell-separation-phase was inhibited. The present study demonstrates that the exposure of phytoplankton to the insecticide chlorpyrifos leads to effects observed at both cellular and population level.