Algae as a Potential Bioremediation Tool Against Atrazine Contamination
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Atrazine is a commonly used herbicide worldwide that was declared an endocrine disruptor by the E.P.A. In order research biological methods to reduce the chemical’s presence in the environment three algae species common to Wisconsin, Chlorella vulgaris (green algae), Cylindrospermum raciborskii (cyanobacteria), and Microcystis aeruginosa (cyanobacteria), were exposed to 200ppb concentration of the common herbicide atrazine. It was hypothesized that the photosynthetic inhibitory effects of atrazine would influence the growth rates differently for the three species but less so for the green algae species C. vulgaris and therefore make it a viable bioremediator. C. vulgaris was expected to be the least affected by atrazine due to the high concentration of chlorophyll α pigmentation and biovolume, which requires larger concentrations of atrazine to inhibit growth. If these species are capable of growing in atrazine conditions and standard lab conditions (1atm, 25oC, and constant lighting) then they could potentially be viable bioremediators for this pollutant. A standard 96 hour static toxicity test was conducted under constant lighting conditions of 65μM/m2/s and 35μM/m2/s. The growth rate was then determined after all the cell counts were conducted for each of the three algal species. It was determined using repeated measure ANOVA that time was found to be statistically significant, by inhibiting growth rate for the species C. vulgaris exposed to atrazine with p-values < 0.05. Further research should examine ecological concentrations of atrazine and other algal species reactions to atrazine as potential bioremediators.