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Update on the Assessment of Chronic Phytotoxicity Using Fern Spore Biomarkers

  • Helena García-Cortés
  • Myriam Catalá
  • José Luis Rodríguez-Gil
Chapter

Abstract

The use of an adequate range of taxa in ecotoxicological studies is a key point for the achievement of ecologically relevant results. Higher plants are an essential part of a healthy and balanced ecosystem, and new plant models are essential in the evaluation of potential impacts of pollutants. With more than 10,000 living species, ferns are the second largest group of vascular plants. Fern spores and spore-developed gametophytes have long been recognized as useful models in many important areas of plant research. Fern spores are single meiotic cells that develop into gametophytes which are miniature mature higher plants. The use of microtubes and microplates is imposed by the natural model. Chronic toxicity testing involves longer periods of exposure to toxicants (>48 h) and assesses the ability of a substance to disrupt a significant portion of an organism’s life stage. DNA content in developing gametophytes can be used as a biomarker of the disturbance that the toxicant provokes in gametophyte growth and development. Chlorophyll autofluorescence can also be used as a biomarker of the physiological state. Both biomarkers can easily be measured using 96 multiwell plates and plate readers. The combined use of these biomarkers in chronic toxicity tests using developing gametophytes of the riparian Polystichum setiferum is yielding very satisfactory results and is a promising new model for ecotoxicology. This bioassay has been successfully used in environmental toxicology/ecotoxicology, assessment of environmental technology and environmental monitoring studies.

Keywords

Fern spores Chronic/subchronic phytotoxicity DNA Chlorophyll a Environmental monitoring Environmental technology 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helena García-Cortés
    • 1
  • Myriam Catalá
    • 2
  • José Luis Rodríguez-Gil
    • 3
  1. 1.National Center for Environmental Health, National Health Institute Carlos IIIMadridSpain
  2. 2.Department of Biology and Geology, Physics and Inorganic ChemistryESCET, Rey Juan Carlos UniversityMadridSpain
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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