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Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia
Print version ISSN 0102-695X
SOUZA, Priscila O. et al. Algae of economic importance that accumulate cadmium and lead: a review . Rev. bras. farmacogn. [online]. 2012, vol.22, n.4, pp.825-837. Epub June 05, 2012. ISSN 0102-695X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-695X2012005000076.
Currently, algae and algae products are extensively applied in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industries. Algae are the main organisms that take up and store heavy metals. Therefore, the use of compounds derived from algae by the pharmaceutical industry should be closely monitored for possible contamination. The pollution generated by heavy metals released by industrial and domestic sources causes serious changes in the aquatic ecosystem, resulting in a loss of biological diversity and a magnification and bioaccumulation of toxic agents in the food chain. Since algae are at the bottom of the aquatic food chain, they are the most important vector for transfer of pollution to upper levels of the trophic chain in aquatic environments. Moreover, microalgae are also used for the bioremediation of wastewater, a process that does not produce secondary pollution, that enables efficient recycling of nutrients and that generates biomass useful for the production of bioactive compounds and biofuel.
Keywords : bioactive compounds; macroalgae; metals; microalgae; secondary metabolites.