2010 Volume 35 Issue 1 Pages 101-105
Chlorella (Parachlorella beyerinckii CK-5), previously identified as Chlorella vulgaris CK-5, is a unicellular green algae that has for many years been used as a nutritional supplement. In order to investigate the effects of methylmercury (MeHg) detoxification by Chlorella, we examined the absorption and excretion of MeHg in mice. Female C57BL/6N mice were randomly divided into three groups of five, and were housed in metabolism cages. Mice were orally administered MeHg chloride at doses of 5 mg (4 mg Hg)/kg body weight with or without 100 mg/mouse of P. beyerinckii powder (BP), and were assigned to either a MeHg group or MeHg + BP group, accordingly. Twenty-four hr after oral administration, feces and urine were collected, and blood, liver, and kidney samples were obtained. Total mercury contents in the samples obtained were determined using an atomic absorption method. The amounts of Hg excreted in feces and urine of the MeHg + BP group were increased nearly 1.9 and 2.2-fold compared with those of the MeHg group. On the other hand, blood and organ Hg levels were not significantly different between two groups. These results suggest that the intake of BP may induce the excretion of Hg both in feces and urine, although it does not affect MeHg absorption from the gastrointestinal tract. The effect of BP on the tissue mercury accumulation may become evident in a long-term experiment.