Journal Article

Ultrastructural changes in <i>Chlamydomonas acidophila</i> (Chlorophyta) induced by heavy metals and polyphosphate metabolism

Kahoko Nishikawa, Yoko Yamakoshi, Isao Uemura and Noriko Tominaga

in FEMS Microbiology Ecology

Volume 44, issue 2, pages 253-259
Published in print May 2003 |
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1574-6941 | DOI:

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Ultrastructural changes induced by heavy metals (cadmium, zinc, and copper) and polyphosphate metabolism were studied in Chlamydomonas acidophila. Transmission electron microscopy indicated that cadmium led to the most drastic morphometric changes. An increase in number and volume of starch grains and vacuoles as well as the presence of electron dense deposits in vacuole and membrane whorls were observed. Energy-dispersive X-ray analysis revealed that vacuolar deposits inside cells treated with cadmium contained phosphate and cadmium. These ultrastructural changes were accompanied by a change in the intracellular polyphosphate level, as shown by in vivo 31P-nuclear magnetic resonance. It was also observed that cadmium treatment caused polyphosphate degradation and increased vacuolar short-chains and orthophosphates.

Keywords: heavy-metal detoxification; Cd; Polyphosphate; Algae; Ultrastructure

Journal Article.  2693 words.  Illustrated.

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