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Superoxide production by marine microalgae: I. Survey of 37 species from 6 classes

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 16:18 authored by Marshall, JA, Miguel de SalasMiguel de Salas, Oda, T, Gustaaf HallegraeffGustaaf Hallegraeff
A survey was conducted for production of the reactive oxygen species superoxide by 37 species (65 strains) of microalgae including dinoflagellates, raphidophytes, chlorophytes, prasinophytes, eustigmatophytes and prymnesiophytes. Ichthyotoxic raphidophyte species of Chattonella were found to produce the highest environmental levels of superoxide (177×104 total chemiluminescence units). However, ichthyotoxic dinoflagellates (Karenia, Alexandrium) and the prymnesiophyte Prymnesium were also found to produce significant levels of superoxide (4×104, 3×104 and 5×104 chemiluminescence units, respectively), equivalent to that of other raphidophyte species of Heterosigma and Fibrocapsa (6×104 and 2×104, respectively). A direct relationship between cell size and superoxide production was observed (r 2 = 0.94), with larger cells producing more superoxide per cell. Chattonella produced the most superoxide per cell (expressed as cellular chemiluminescence units), followed by the dinoflagellate species Karenia, Alexandrium, Takayama and Gymnodinium. Small cells, such as the raphidophyte Heterosigma and the prymnesiophyte Prymnesium produced very little superoxide per cell (cellular chemiluminescence units), but potentially could still produce high total levels of superoxide if present at high biomass levels. Species commonly used as aquaculture bivalve feeds such as Dunaliella, Tetraselmis, Nannochloropsis and Pavlova produced negligible levels of superoxide, even at high biomass. We speculate that superoxide, while not the sole ichthyotoxic principle, may play a wider role in algal toxicity than previously considered, and propose a broad classification of microalgae based upon superoxide production. © Springer-Verlag 2005.


Publication title

Marine Biology: international journal on life in oceans and coastal waters








School of Natural Sciences



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Fisheries - aquaculture not elsewhere classified

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