Arsenic is not stored as arsenite-phytochelatin complexes in the seaweeds Fucus spiralis and Hizikia fusiforme

B. Alan Wood, Shinichi Miyashita, Toshikazu Kaise, Andrea Raab, Andrew A. Meharg, Jörg Feldmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Phytochelatins (PCs), generic structure [gamma-Glu-Cys]n-Gly, are peptides synthesised by terrestrial plants to bind toxic metal(loid)s such as cadmium and arsenic. Seaweeds are arsenic hyperaccumulators, seemingly achieving detoxification via arsenosugar biosynthesis. Whether seaweeds synthesise PCs to aid detoxification during arsenic exposure is unknown. Hizikia fusiforme (hijiki) and Fucus spiralis were used as model seaweeds: the former is known for its large inorganic arsenic concentration, whereas the latter contains mainly arsenosugars. F. spiralis was exposed to 0, 1 and 10 mg L-1 arsenate solutions for 24 h, whereas hijiki was analysed fresh. All samples contained As-III, glutathione and reduced PC2, identified using HPLC-ICP-MS/ES-MS. Although hijiki contained no As-III-PC complexes, arsenate exposed F. spiralis generated traces of numerous arsenic compounds that might be As-III-GS or As-III-PC2 complexes. As-III-PC complexes seem not to be a principal storage form for long-term arsenic storage within seaweeds. However, 40 times higher glutathione concentrations were found in hijiki than F. spiralis, which may explain how hijiki deals with its high inorganic arsenic burden.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-43
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Chemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • arsenosugars
  • detoxification
  • hijiki
  • hyperaccumulator pteris-vittata
  • heavy-metal detoxification
  • phosphate-uptake system
  • Holcus-Lanatus L
  • marine-environment
  • mass-spectrometry
  • ICP-MS
  • speciaton
  • plants


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