Chlorinated hydrocarbon pollutants and photosynthesis of marine phytoplankton: a reassessment

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Science  08 Aug 1975:
Vol. 189, Issue 4201, pp. 463-464
DOI: 10.1126/science.807971


The chlorinated hydrocarbons DDT and PCB's (polychlorinated biphenyls), ubiquitous pollutants of the marine environment, have been observed to reduce the cell division rate of marine phytoplankton, thereby indirectly reducing the total photosynthetic carbon fixation in treated cultures. The photosynthetic capacity of each cell was not affected. Total marine photosynthesis will likely remain undiminished by these compounds, although alterations in phytoplankton communities through selective toxicity could effect herbivore populations.