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Bioconcentration and Intracellular Storage of Hexachlorobenzene in Charophytes and Their Potential Role in Monitoring and Remediation Actions

Schneider, Susanne C., Nizzetto, Luca
Environmental Science & Technology 2012 v.46 no.22 pp. 12427-12434
Chara, algae, bioaccumulation factor, bioremediation, cell walls, cortex, cytoplasm, freshwater, hexachlorobenzene, hydrophobicity, indicator species, models, monitoring, persistent organic pollutants, phytoplankton
It has been hypothesized that highly hydrophobic substances (LogKOW > 5) including many persistent organic pollutants cannot overtake protective tissues and diffuse inside the body of plants due to steric hindrance or very slow diffusion. We investigated the bioaccumulation of hexachlorobenzene (HCB, LogKOW = 5.5) in a benthic charophycean macro-alga: Chara rudis. Chara species are a group of common freshwater algae with a complex body structure encompassing a protective layer of cortex cells surrounding large internode cells. The charophyte cell wall has many features in common with that of higher plants; therefore, they are useful models to investigate bioaccumulation mechanisms in general. We found that HCB diffused through the cortex and reached the cytoplam of internode cells. More than 90% of the HCB mass found in the organism was in the cortex and 10% in the internode cell cytoplasm. The cortex reached a pseudoequilibrium partitioning with water, and the bioconcentration factor was in the same range as that of lower aquatic organisms such as phytoplankton. Charophytes are therefore very efficient accumulators of hydrophobic compounds. Based on the structural and ecological features of charophytes, we speculated on their possible use as biomonitors and bioremediation tools.