Changes in elemental concentrations of diatoms and river water from the river Erh-Jen were determined using scanning electron microscopy energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Relatively large amounts of copper and lead found in both planktonic and epilithic diatoms implied these algae might play an important role in biogeochemical cycles and in the transfer of those elements to higher trophic levels in the aquatic environment. Changes in elemental concentrations within diatom cells were found to vary with other elements within cells and the same or different elements in water. Planktonic and epilithic cells showed different correlation patterns. For epilithic diatoms, negative correlations were found between concentrations of total phosphorus and phosphate in water and those of phosphorus within cells, and between concentrations of lead in water and in cells. Concentrations of chromium and mercury within planktonic cells and those of phosphorus, manganese and lead within epilithic ones were found to be easily influenced by other elements in river water, indicating appearance of the competitive manner on uptake of such elements by algal cells. Relatively high concentration factors (CFs) for cadmium, mercury and lead by diatoms in this study suggested they are good accumulators for these heavy metals. Significant negative corrections were found between the CFs of diatoms and the concentrations of elements in river water.
Water Research / Volume 38, Issue 7, Pages 1779–1790