Department of Applied Chemistry, China Agricultural University, Yuanmingyuan West Road 2, Beijing 100193, China; Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Food Nutrition and Human Health, Yuanmingyuan West Road 2, Beijing 100193, China. Electronic address: [Email]
Enantiomers of chiral pesticides usually display different toxic effects on non-target organisms in surrounding environment, but there are few studies on its enantioselective toxicity of paclobutrazol to aquatic organisms such as Chlorella vulgaris (C. vulgaris). In this study, the enantioselective bioaccumulation and toxicities, such as acute toxicity and oxidative stress, of the racemate, (2S, 3S)-enantiomer (S-enantiomer) and (2R, 3R)-enantiomer (R-enantiomer) of paclobutrazol to the C. vulgaris cells were investigated. The results showed that the algae cells were able to accumulate the paclobutrazol in a short time, while this bioaccumulation had no enantioselective distinction between the two enantiomers during biological metabolism. However, the racemate and two enantiomers of paclobutrazol significantly inhibited the growth of C. vulgaris, displayed different median lethal concentrations. The photosynthetic pigments, photosynthesis-related genes as well as antioxidation-related biomarkers in treated C. vulgaris were also investigated. In general, R-enantiomer was found to be more toxic to C. vulgaris cells than its racemate and S-enantiomer. Additionally, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis showed the R-enantiomer caused more serious changes than S-enantiomer. Moreover, contents of two plant hormones (gibberellin, GA and indoleacetic acid, IAA) were determined in treated C. vulgaris. Higher paclobutrazol concentrations caused lower IAA contents significantly. Nevertheless, the two enantiomers showed no enantioselective effects on the biosynthesis of GA in C. vulgaris. Our results are helpful to understand the enantioselective effects of paclobutrazol enantiomers on non-target organisms, and useful for evaluating their environmental risks.