Effects of wildfire ash on the growth and biochemical profiles of the aquatic macrophyte Lemna minor


Wildfires are a social and environmental concern to the world due to their many adverse effects, including risk to the public health and security, economic damages in prevention and fight, ecosystems pollution, land usage sustainability, and biodiversity. In the Mediterranean region, these events have increased in the last years. Although several studies evaluated the impacts of the wildfires on the structure and function of the ecosystems and their communities, there is a lack of information at the biochemical level beyond the toxicological effects to the organisms. So, aiming to evaluate the potential toxic and biochemical effects of pine and eucalypt ash from high and low severity burned areas in the aquatic environments, L. minor growth, fatty acid and carbohydrate profiles were studied. Data showed that the wildfires ash from high severity burned areas are more toxic, with a higher growth inhibition than when exposed to ash from low severity burned areas. Considering the ash from low severity burned areas, eucalypt ash revealed to be more noxious to the macrophyte than pine ash. Furthermore, it was observed a decrease in the diversity and abundance of fatty acids content, comparing with the control. An opposite trend was observed in carbohydrates which increased with the organisms' exposure to almost all ash types, except in case of the organisms exposed to eucalypt ash from high severity burned areas, where carbo-hydrate content decreased.



subject category

Marine & Freshwater Biology; Toxicology


Mesquita, AF; Abrantes, N; Campos, I; Nunes, C; Coimbra, MA; Goncalves, FJM; Marques, JC; Goncalves, AMM

our authors


This study was supported by Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia (FCT) through the projects LA/P/0069/2020 granted to the Associate Laboratory ARNET, UIDB/04292/2020 granted to MARE-Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, UIDP/50017/2020+UIDB/50017/2020 (by FCT/MTCES) granted to CESAM-Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies, POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007679 granted to CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, and UID/QUI/00062/2013 granted to QOPNA, when applicable co-financed by FEDER under the PT2020 Partnership Agreement. This research was also partially supported by PORBIOTA, E-Infrastructure Portuguese Information and Research in Biodiversity (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-022127) and by the AQUAFIRE (PTDC/CTA-AMB/28936/2017), supported by Competitiveness and Internationalization Operational Programme and Regional Operational Programme of Lisbon, through FEDER, and by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), through national funds (OE). The authors thank FCT for the financial support provided through the doctoral grant SFRH/BD/139831/2018 to A. F. Mesquita co-funded by the Human Potential Operational Programme (National Strategic Reference Framework 2007-2013), European Social Fund (EU), and the program POPH/FSE. A. M. M. Goncalves also acknowledges University of Coimbra for the contract IT057-18-7253.

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