Effects of nutrient enrichment, depuration substrate, and body size on the trophic transfer of cadmium associated with microalgae to the benthic amphipod Leptocheirus plumulosus

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Bioavailability and nutrient effects on the trophic transfer of Cd associated with microalgae to the marine benthic amphipod Leptocheirus plumulosus were investigated. Cadmium assimilation efficiency (AE) of suspension-feeding L. plumulosus significantly varied among three algal species tested (Nitzschia punctata, Thalassiosira weissflogii, and Isochrysis galbana). Depuration substrate greatly influenced Cd AE for L. plumulosus (AE was much higher for nonburrowed amphipods), probably because sediment burrowing allowed L. plumulosus to feed as a surface deposit feeder. The L. plumulosus body size, ranging from 0.5 to 2.0 mm, did not affect Cd AE. Nitrate enrichment from 0 to 180 microM in algal culture significantly increased Cd AE from 9.4 to 18.8% for T. weissflogii, from 10.0 to 27.3% for N. punctata, and from 10.0 to 16.2% for I. galbana; nitrate enrichment from 0 to 60 microM did not influence Cd AE in any algal species tested. Physiological turnover rate constants of Cd in L. plumulosus ranged from 0.016 to 0.025/h for the three species and were independent of nitrate addition. Nitrate enrichment strongly enhanced Cd distribution in algal cytoplasm. Phosphate enrichment (0-7.5 miroM) did not significantly affect Cd AEs in L. plumulosus. Overall, a significant linear relationship was observed between the Cd AE of L. plumulosus and the fraction of Cd available in algal cytoplasm. Our work suggests that eutrophication by nitrate enrichment has the potential to enhance the trophic transfer of Cd from microalgae to suspension-feeding benthic invertebrates.

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Environmental toxicology and chemistry

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