Impact of environmental pollutants on benthic diatoms

Last changed: 13 September 2019
Deformed diatoms. Collage of microscope pictures.

The aim of the project is to test the possibility of developing benthic diatoms indicators for hazardous substances in Swedish inland waters.

To meet the demands of the Swedish Environmental Objective 'A Non-Toxic Environment' and to screen streams and lakes for prioritized substances, there is a need to find indicators, which can show the integrated effect of environmental pollutants such as heavy metals and pesticides.

Screening method to detect toxins

Kiselalger i sjöar och vattendrag - vägledning för statusklassificering. Havs- och vattenmyndighetens rapport 2018:38 (in Swedish)

Programområde: Sötvatten. Undersökningstyp - Påväxt i rinnande vatten - Kisel­algs­analys Version 3:2: 2016-01-20 (in Swedish)

Lindegarth M, Carstensen J, Drakare S, Johnson RK, Nyström Sandman A, Söderpalm A, Wikström S A (Editors). Ecological Assessment of Swedish Water Bodies; development, harmonisation and integration of biological indicators. Final report of the research programme WATERS. Deliverable 1.1-4, WATERS report no 2016:10. Havsmiljöinstitutet, Sweden. (for diatom screening method see p.44 ff.)

Background report

Kahlert, M. (2012). Utveckling av en miljögiftsindikator – kiselalger i rinnande vatten. Länsstyrelsen Blekinge län, Karlskrona, Report 2012:12, 40 pp.

Results diatoms & toxins 120920


Presentation at FoMA workshop Giftfri Miljö (120330)


Goncalves, S., Almeida, S. F. P., Figuera, E. & Kahlert, M. 2019. Valve teratologies and Chl c in the freshwater diatom Tabellaria flocculosa as biomarkers for metal contamination. Ecological Indicators, 101, 476-485.

Goncalves, S., Kahlert, M., Almeida, S. F. P. & Figuera, E. 2018. A freshwater diatom challenged by Zn: Biochemical, physiological and metabolomic responses of Tabellaria flocculosa(Roth) Kützing. Environmental Pollution, 238, 959-971.

Goncalves, S., Kahlert, M., Almeida, S. F. P. & Figuera, E. 2018. Assessing Cu impacts on freshwater diatoms: biochemical and metabolomic responses of Tabellaria flocculosa (Roth) Kützing. Science of The Total Environment, 625, 1234-1246.

Gonçalves, Sara Isabel Bastos (2017). Zinc and copper impacts on freshwater diatoms: physiological, biochemical and metabolomic response of Tabellaria flocculosa. MSc thesis, University of Aveiro.

Lavoie, I., et al. (2017). "Diatom teratologies as biomarkers of contamination: Are all deformities ecologically meaningful?" Ecological Indicators 82(Supplement C): 539-550.

Hedenborg, Amanda, 2016. Zinc tolerance of freshwater diatoms isolated from sites with zinc pollution; and pH effect on zinc toxicity. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: (NL, NJ. 
Dept. of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment.

Lundqvist, Anders, 2016. Evaluating zinc content in aquatic ecosystem by estimating the responses of diatom biofilm to environmental and biological variables. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: (NL, NJ). Dept. of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment

Ström, Josabeth, 2016. The impact of phosphorus and temperature on the toxicity of zinc on benthic diatom. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: (NL, NJ). Dept. of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment.

Åkerman, K. (2015). The effects of diflufenican on benthic algae. Degree project in biology, Master of science (2years). Biology Education Centre, Uppsala University, and Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Naghavian, S.N. (2012. Experimental zinc stress on benthic diatoms assemblage growth in Fyrisån water. MSc thesis, Dept. of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, SLU, 46 pp.

Eriksson, M., Jarlman, A. (2011). Kiselalgsundersökning i vattendrag i Skåne 2010 – statusklassning samt en studie av kopplingen mellan deformerade skal och förekomst av bekämpningsmedel. Länsstyrelsen i Skåne län, Rapport 2011:5.

Pirzadeh, P. (2011). Bekämpningsmedel i skånska vattendrag – Resultat från den regionala miljöövervakningen 2010. Länsstyrelsen i Skåne län, Rapport 2011:15.

Jan-Ers, L. (2009). Kiselalgernas missbildningar under toxiska förhållanden. SLU/Dept. of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment. Kandidatuppsats.