Microalgae as natural detector of environmental safety

phys.org | 2/20/2019 | Staff
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An international group of toxicologists, including experts from the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), report that unicellular microalgae, the most common microorganisms on Earth and an important part of the food chain for more developed organisms, serve as an effective biomarker of environmental pollution. Microalgae quickly respond to chemical contamination of the environment by oxidative stress. The study was published in Current Opinion in Toxicology.

Scientists explain that environmental pollution leads to the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) inside the cells of all living organisms. As soon as ROS appears in the cells, the body activates defense systems to resist oxidative (oxygen) stress. The very presence of ROS inside the cells, as well as oxygen-induced damage of the cells and antioxidants to repair them, can serve as an indicator of environmental problems.

Organisms - Toxicology - Ecotoxicology - Sensitivity - Pollution

"Aquatic organisms are widely used in toxicology and ecotoxicology due to their sensitivity to pollution, ubiquity and simplicity of cultivation. Among them, microalgae occupy a special place, as the most common form of organisms in the Global Ocean. They occupy the initial level in the food chain and are responsible for more than half of the photosynthetic activity on the planet. In case of damage to the microalgae population, the consequences will be noticeable at higher levels of the food chain, since they feed more than 70 percent of biomass. Using unicellular microalgae, we can quickly determine the degree of environmental pollution," Says FEFU Vice-President for Research, Kirill Golokhvast, Ph.D., Doctor of Biological Sciences.

The researchers note that the diversity of antioxidants produced in the body under...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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