1887

Abstract

Many cyanobacteria produce extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) mainly of polysaccharidic nature. These EPS can remain associated to the cell surface as sheaths, capsules and/or slimes, or be liberated into the surrounding environment as released polysaccharides (RPS). The ability of EPS-producing cyanobacteria to remove heavy metals from aqueous solutions has been widely reported in the literature, focusing mainly on the biotechnological potential. However, the knowledge of the effects of the metals in the cell's survival/growth is still scarce, particularly when they are simultaneously exposed to more than one metal. This work evaluated the effects of different concentrations of Cu and/or Pb in the growth/survival of sp. PCC 6909 and its sheathless mutant sp. CCY 9612. The results obtained clearly showed that both phenotypes are more severely affected by Cu than Pb, and that the mutant is more sensitive to the former metal than the wild-type. Evident ultrastructural changes were also observed in the wild-type and mutant cells exposed to high levels (10 mg l) of Cu. Moreover, in bi-metal systems, Pb was preferentially removed compared with Cu, being the RPS of the mutant that is the most efficient polysaccharide fraction in metal removal. In these systems, the simultaneous presence of Cu and Pb caused a mutual inhibition in the adsorption of each metal.

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2011-02-01
2019-10-22
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