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Toxicity assessment of particulate matter emitted from different types of vehicles on marine microalgae

Pikula, Konstantin S., Chernyshev, Valery V., Zakharenko, Alexander M., Chaika, Vladimir V., Waissi, Greta, Hai, Le Hong, Hien, To Trong, Tsatsakis, Aristidis M., Golokhvast, Kirill S.
Environmental research 2019
Porphyridium, aerosols, air pollution, aquatic environment, drainage water, enzyme activity, esterases, flow cytometry, membrane potential, microalgae, motorcycles, particulate emissions, particulates, toxicity, urban areas, wastewater
Air pollution caused by vehicle emissions remains a serious environmental threat in urban areas. Sedimentation of atmospheric aerosols, surface wash, drainage water, and urbane wastewater can bring vehicle particle emissions into the aquatic environment. However, the level of toxicity and mode of toxic action for this kind of particles are not fully understood. Here we explored the aquatic toxic effects of particulate matter emitted from different types of vehicles on marine microalgae Porphyridium purpureum and Heterosigma akashiwo.We used flow cytometry to evaluate growth rate inhibition, changes in the level of esterase activity, changes in membrane potential and size changes of microalgae cells under the influence of particulate matter emitted by motorcycles, cars and specialized vehicles with different types of engines and powered by different types of fuel.Both microalgae species were highly influenced by the particles emitted by diesel-powered vehicles. These particle samples had the highest impact on survival, esterase activity, and membrane potential of microalgae and caused the most significant increase in microalgae cell size compared to the particles produced by gasoline-powered vehicles. The results of the algae-bioassay strongly correlate with the data of laser granulometry analyses, which indicate that the most toxic samples had a significantly higher percentage of particles in the size range less than 1 μm. Visual observation with an optical microscope showed intensive agglomeration of the particles emitted by diesel-powered vehicles with microalgae cells. Moreover, within the scope of this research, we did not observe the direct influence of metal content in the particles to the level of their aquatic toxicity, and we can conclude that physical damage is the most probable mechanism of toxicity for vehicle emitted particles.