Next Article in Journal
DynaStI: A Dynamic Retention Time Database for Steroidomics
Next Article in Special Issue
Improved Algal Toxicity Test System for Robust Omics-Driven Mode-of-Action Discovery in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
Previous Article in Journal
Metabolites Associated with Vigor to Frailty Among Community-Dwelling Older Black Men
Previous Article in Special Issue
Intracellular and Extracellular Metabolites from the Cyanobacterium Chlorogloeopsis fritschii, PCC 6912, During 48 Hours of UV-B Exposure
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

Effects of Copper and pH on the Growth and Physiology of Desmodesmus sp. AARLG074

Master’s Degree Program in Applied Microbiology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Center of Excellence in Bioresources for Agriculture, Industry and Medicine, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Plant Metabolism Group, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EA, UK
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Metabolites 2019, 9(5), 84;
Received: 3 April 2019 / Revised: 26 April 2019 / Accepted: 27 April 2019 / Published: 30 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolites from Phototrophic Prokaryotes and Algae Volume 2)
PDF [3001 KB, uploaded 1 May 2019]


Copper (Cu) is a heavy metal that is widely used in industry and as such wastewater from mining or industrial operations can contain high levels of Cu. Some aquatic algal species can tolerate and bioaccumulate Cu and so could play a key role in bioremediating and recovering Cu from polluted waterways. One such species is the green alga Desmodesmus sp. AARLG074. The aim of this study was to determine how Desmodesmus is able to tolerate large alterations in its external Cu and pH environment. Specifically, we set out to measure the variations in the Cu removal efficiency, growth, ultrastructure, and cellular metabolite content in the algal cells that are associated with Cu exposure and acidity. The results showed that Desmodesmus could remove up to 80% of the copper presented in Jaworski’s medium after 30 min exposure. There was a decrease in the ability of Cu removal at pH 4 compared to pH 6 indicating both pH and Cu concentration affected the efficiency of Cu removal. Furthermore, Cu had an adverse effect on algal growth and caused ultrastructural changes. Metabolite fingerprinting (FT-IR and GC-MS) revealed that the polysaccharide and amino acid content were the main metabolites affected under acid and Cu exposure. Fructose, lactose and sorbose contents significantly decreased under both acidic and Cu conditions, whilst glycerol and melezitose contents significantly increased at pH 4. The pathway analysis showed that pH had the highest impact score on alanine, aspartate and glutamate metabolism whereas Cu had the highest impact on arginine and proline metabolism. Notably both Cu and pH had impact on glutathione and galactose metabolism. View Full-Text
Keywords: algae; copper; FT-IR; metabolite fingerprinting; pathway analysis; TEM algae; copper; FT-IR; metabolite fingerprinting; pathway analysis; TEM

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Buayam, N.; Davey, M.P.; Smith, A.G.; Pumas, C. Effects of Copper and pH on the Growth and Physiology of Desmodesmus sp. AARLG074. Metabolites 2019, 9, 84.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Metabolites EISSN 2218-1989 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top