Pb uptake by the freshwater alga Chlorella kesslerii in the presence of dissolved organic matter of variable composition
Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is a complex mixture of ill-defined components,which makes the quantitative understanding ofDOMfunctions in aquatic systems a challenging task.The traditional approach for studying such complex mixtures involves their separation into groups of different components, while assuming minimal or no alteration of their properties. By mixing the pre-isolated and well-characterised individual fractions of the DOM, including humic, fulvic and alginic acids, we have demonstrated that the free Pb ion concentrations and the adsorbed Pb plus Pb internalised by the alga Chlorella kesslerii in the presence of DOM samples of different compositions can be predicted on the basis of the experiments performed in the presence of the individual DOM fractions. An additivity model assuming that the properties of the mixture can be considered as the sum of the properties of the individual components captured the Pb speciation and adsorption behaviour in the presence of DOM of variable compositions. Similarly to the results with the individual DOM fractions, internalised Pb concentrations in the presence of the reconstituted DOM were greater than that predicted by the corresponding free lead ion concentration. An improved fit between experimental observations and the model predictions of adsorbed plus internalised Pb in the presence of DOM of different compositions was observed by assuming that each individual component adsorbed by the algae gave access to additional binding sites for Pb. Furthermore, the contribution of the Pb–DOM complex to total cellular Pb was dominated by the humic and fulvic acids, whereas the contribution of alginate was minimal.