, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 165–171 | Cite as

Performance of a miniaturized algal bioassay in phytotoxicity screening

  • Susana M. Paixão
  • Luís Silva
  • Andreia Fernandes
  • Kathleen O’Rourke
  • Elsa Mendonça
  • Ana Picado


A miniaturized and low-cost algal growth-inhibition assay, with Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata, based on the standard ISO 8692 and using 96-well microplates, was tested and optimized in this work, to be used as a useful tool for pollutant phytotoxicity screening. For validation, the performance of the microplate algal growth-inhibition assay was first compared with the standard flask assay for the toxicity testing of five reference toxicants (copper(II) sulfate, zinc sulfate, potassium permanganate, potassium dichromate and 3,5-Dichlorophenol) and six wastewater samples. Statistical evaluation of EC50 results from both methods demonstrated a good agreement between microplate and flask assays either in testing chemicals (r 2 = 0.975, p < 0.0017) or environmental samples toxicity (r 2 = 0.984, p < 0.0001). In addition, the performance of this algal microplate bioassay was also evaluated in comparison with Lemna test, ISO 20079, for phytotoxicity assessment of 27 wastewater samples from industries and treatment plants. The results showed that the algal test was more sensitive for most of the samples, but a significant agreement between both tests was observed (r 2 = 0.644, p < 0.0001). In conclusion, this miniaturized test can be a good tool to include in a battery of tests for phytotoxicity screening of a wide range of chemicals and environmental samples, with the advantage of requiring low sample volumes for the test, allowing large numbers of samples to be tested, and generating low volumes of waste.


Microplate algal growth-inhibition test Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata Lemna minor Chemicals Wastewater 



This work was developed as part of a demonstration project LIFE02/ENV/P/000416—ECORIVER—Ecotoxicological Evaluation of Municipal and Industrial Wastewaters in Trancão River Basin (


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susana M. Paixão
    • 1
  • Luís Silva
    • 1
  • Andreia Fernandes
    • 1
  • Kathleen O’Rourke
    • 2
  • Elsa Mendonça
    • 1
  • Ana Picado
    • 1
  1. 1.INETILisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Enterprise Ireland Shannon Town CentreShannonIreland

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