Toxicity of cadmium selenide nanoparticles on the green microalga Chlorella vulgaris : inducing antioxidative defense response

  • Ali MovafeghiEmail author
  • Alireza Khataee
  • Arezoo Rezaee
  • Morteza Kosari-Nasab
  • Roshanak Tarrahi
Research Article


Green algae are dominant primary producers in aquatic environments. Thus, assessing the influences of pollutants such as nanoparticles on the algae is of high ecological significance. In the current study, cadmium selenide nanoparticles (CdSe NPs) were synthesized using the hydrothermal method and their characteristics were determined by X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) techniques. Subsequently, the toxicity of synthesized nanoparticles on the green microalga Chlorella vulgaris was investigated. The observations by SEM confirmed that exposure to CdSe NPs had severe impacts on the algal morphology. Furthermore, the obtained results revealed the toxic effect of CdSe NPs by a decrease in the number of cells. Measurement of antioxidant enzymes activity showed an increase in the activity of catalase, and a decrease in the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) at high concentrations of CdSe NPs. The exposure of C. vulgaris to CdSe NPs resulted also in a change in algal pigments as well as total phenol content. Taken together, CdSe NPs appeared to have significant cytotoxic effects on C. vulgaris in the applied concentrations.


CdSe nanoparticles Chlorella vulgaris Toxicity Antioxidant system 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant Biology, Faculty of Natural SciencesUniversity of TabrizTabrizIran
  2. 2.Research Laboratory of Advanced Water and Wastewater Treatment Processes, Department of Applied Chemistry, Faculty of ChemistryUniversity of TabrizTabrizIran
  3. 3.Department of Environmental EngineeringGebze Technical UniversityGebzeTurkey
  4. 4.Drug Applied Research CenterTabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizIran

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