Variation in metal concentrations in the brown alga Undaria pinnatifida in Osaka Bay, Japan

Mika Yamada*, Koshi Yamamoto, Yasuhiro Ushihara, Hiroshi Kawai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In order to evaluate the usefulness of a biomonitoring system using seaweeds for assessing the geographic distribution of metal ions in coastal seawaters, the metal concentrations in the sporophytes of an annual kelp, Undaria pinnatifida (Harvey) Suringar, were collected at 15 localities in Osaka Bay, Japan and compared. About 160 cm2 of the blade was cut out from the central part of clean sporophytes, rinsed in filtered seawater using an ultrasonic cleaning bath, and freeze-dried. After digestion with 12% HNO 3 in a microwave apparatus, metal concentrations in the samples were determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The concentrations (dry weight basis) of most examined elements were in the parts per million range; Cr, 0.48-3.18; Ni, 0.77-5.94; Cu, 3.20-43.8; Zn, 11.3-86.8; Pb, 0.14-3.53. Comparisons of metal compositions of the U. pinnatifida samples from the northeastern area of the bay, which has a large urban population and highly developed industries inland, showed high concentrations of Cd, Pb and Cu compared with the samples from the southwestern area of the bay where the population and industries are much smaller. This suggests that U. pinnatifida metal loads can be used as a marker to track the geographic distributions of the metal concentrations in coastal seawaters, reflecting inland human activities such as shipbuilding and repairing in port areas, and can be used as a useful biomonitoring system of coastal environments for long-term trend.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-230
Number of pages9
JournalPhycological Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Sept
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomonitoring
  • Coastal seawater
  • Metal pollution
  • Osaka Bay
  • Undaria pinnatifida

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Plant Science


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