Senior Project Advisor
Algae, Palmaria palmata, metals, absorption, bioaccumulation
Algae, specifically macroalgae, have rapidly sprung into the spotlight as a valuable natural resource to serve many functions in recent years. Individual community members and foragers have found algae useful for home cooking and garden fertilizer; it can also be used commercially in dietary supplements, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and animal feed. P. palmata is a red algal species that grows naturally in Northwestern Europe and Iceland and is commercially grown in Japan, Maine, and recently, California and Washington. This study aimed to investigate the ability of Palmaria palmata to bioaccumulate chromium, cadmium, lead, and zinc at eight different concentrations over 48 hours and determine if it is safe for aquaculture. The four metals in this study are considered toxic to humans at certain doses, so have regulations limiting their presence in food. P. palmata was expected to have a low affinity for bioaccumulating metals regardless of metal concentration in the water. An ANOVA test determined the measured concentrations of each metal in the algal tissue (mg/kg) to be significantly different and increased for all four studied metals. No more than 15% of the initial metals were accumulated in the treatments, and the accumulation efficiency of cadmium by P. palmata decreased as the initial metal concentration increased. The low-efficiency bioaccumulation of metals by P. palmata could mean that this species is at low risk of reaching high levels of contamination when cultured near areas with above-average metal deposition into the water.
Smith, Cameron, "Alga of My Eye, Determining the Ability of Palmaria palmata to Bioaccumulate Metals" (2022). WWU Honors College Senior Projects. 627.
Subjects - Topical (LCSH)
Palmaria--Environmental aspects; Metals--Bioaccumulation--Measurement
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