Measurement of chlorophyll fluorescence has been shown to be a rapid, non-invasive, and reliable method to assess photosynthetic performance in a changing environment. In this study, acute toxicity of excess Hg on the photosynthetic performance of the cyanobacterium S. platensis, was investigated by use of chlorophyll fluorescence analysis after cells were exposed to excess Hg (up to 20 μM) for 2 h. The results determined from the fast fluorescence kinetics showed that Hg induced a significant increase in the proportion of the Q(B)-non-reducing PSII reaction centers. The fluorescence parameters measured under the steady state of photosynthesis demonstrated that the increase of Hg concentration led to a decrease in the maximal efficiency of PSII photochemistry, the efficiency of excitation energy capture by the open PSII reaction centers, and the quantum yield of PSII electron transport. Mercury also resulted in a decrease in the coefficients of photochemical and non-photochemical quenching. Mercury may have an acute toxicity on cyanobacteria by inhibiting the quantum yield of photosynthesis sensitively and rapidly. Such changes occurred before any other visible damages that may be evaluated by other conventional measurements. Our results also demonstrated that chlorophyll fluorescence analysis can be used as a useful physiological tool to assess early stages of change in photosynthetic performance of algae in response to heavy metal pollution. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis