An imbalance in the cellular C:N ratio may appreciably affect C allocation in algal cells. The consequences of these rearrangements of cellular pools on cell energetics, ecological fitness, and evolutionary trajectories are little known, although they are expected to be substantial. We investigated the fate of C in 11 microalgae cultured semi continuously at three [NO3-] and constant pCO2. We developed a new computational method for the semiquantitative use of Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy data for the determination of macromolecular composition. No obvious relationship was observed between the taxonomy and the allocation strategies adopted by the 11 species considered in this study. Not all species responded to a lower N availability by accumulating lipids or carbohydrates: Dunaliella parva W. Lerche and Thalassiosira pseudonana Hasle et Heimdal were homeostatic with respect to organic cell composition. A hyperbolic dependence of the lipid concentration from cell volume was observed. The level of reduction of organic constituents of green algae was parabolically related to size and was modulated in response to changes in N availability; the same was not true for the species bearing a ‘‘red’’ chloroplast. The above observations are discussed with respect to phytoplankton species composition and palatability for grazers, oleogenesis, and overall cell energetics.
Ecological and evolutionary implications of carbon allocation in marine phytoplankton as a function of nitrogen availability: a FTIR spectroscopy approach / Palmucci, M.; Ratti, S; Giordano, Mario. - In: JOURNAL OF PHYCOLOGY. - ISSN 0022-3646. - STAMPA. - 47:(2011), pp. 313-323.