Heavy Metal Depuration Steps for Gracilaria chilensis in Outdoor Culture Systems

Jorge Rivas, Florentina Piña, Matías Araya, Nicolás Latorre-Padilla, Benjamín Pinilla-Rojas, Sofía Caroca, Francisca C. Bronfman, Loretto Contreras-Porcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Seaweed aquaculture is affected by natural and anthropogenic stressors, which put the biomass productivity of the cultures at risk. Seaweed biomass for commercial purposes, principally in pharmaceutical and/or nutraceutical applications, needs to be free of pollutants; therefore, controlled cultures have relevance in regulating the quality of biomass. The aim of this work was to demonstrate the successful utilization of controlled outdoor cultures to remove excess heavy metal accumulation in Gracilaria chilensis, an important commercial seaweed farming model. Specifically, we designed a simple and operational heavy metal depuration protocol, utilizing seawater and tap water removal, which permitted the concentration reduction of 10 heavy metals, including As, Cu, and Cd but not Zn, from the biomass at 7 days of culture. The percentage of depuration of the heavy metals ranged from 32 to 92% at 7 days, which was maintained throughout 21 days of culture. During the culture period, the monitored physicochemical parameters (temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen, among others) remained stable, with an increase in the daily growth rate (DGR% d-1) of the biomass recorded after 14 days of culture. Consequently, the experimental setup was successful for heavy metal depuration, which highlights the importance of controlled outdoor cultures as important tools of sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecules (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2022


  • depuration rate
  • Gracilaria chilensis
  • outdoor culture
  • purification
  • red seaweed
  • seaweed food
  • sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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