The present study investigated aluminum's effect on cellular division and the photosynthetic processes in Euglena gracilis and Chlamydomonas acidophila at pH 3.0, at which Al is present mostly as Al(3+), AlSO(4) (+), and Al(SO(4))(2) (-). These algal species were exposed to 100, 188, and 740 microM Al, and after 24 h cell-bound Al was significantly different from control only for the highest concentration tested. However, very different effects of Al on algal cellular division, biomass per cell, and photosynthetic activity were found. Aluminum stimulated cell division but decreased at some level biomass per cell in C. acidophila. Primary photochemistry of photosynthesis, as Photosystem II quantum yield, and energy dissipation via nonphotochemical activity were slightly affected. However, for E. gracilis, under the same conditions, Al did not show a stimulating effect on cellular division or photosynthetic activity. Primary photochemical activity was diminished, and energy dissipation via nonphotochemical pathways was strongly increased. Therefore, when Al is highly available in aquatic ecosystems, these effects may indicate very different response mechanisms that are dependent on algal species.
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