Impact of irradiance on the C allocation in the coastal marine diatom Skeletonema marinoi Sarno and Zingone.

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Journal Article
Plant, cell & environment, 2011, 34 (10), pp. 1666 - 1677
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Elemental stoichiometry and organic composition were investigated in an Adriatic strain of Skeletonema marinoi, cultured at 25 [low light (LL)] and 250 [high light (HL)]µmol photon m⁻² s⁻¹. Inorganic carbon acquisition, fixation and allocation, and silicic acid and orthophosphate uptake were also studied. The C:P ratio was below the Redfield ratio, especially at LL. In HL cells, N quota was halved, C quota was similar, silica quota was lower, growth rate and long-term net primary productivity were almost doubled, relative to LL cells. The HL:LL cell quota ratios were 6 for lipid, 0.5 for protein and 0.4 for carbohydrate. Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPc) and glutamine synthetase (GS) activities were unaffected by the growth irradiance; phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPck) was 2.5-fold more active in LL cells. This suggests that in S. marinoi, C₄ photosynthesis is unlikely, PEPc is anaplerotic and PEPck may be involved in the conversion of lipid C to carbohydrates, especially in LL cells. Because about 50% of the cost for the production of an HL cell is caused by lipid biosynthesis, we propose that the preferential allocation of C to lipid at HL takes advantage of the relatively high volume-based energy content of lipids, in an organism that reduces its size at each vegetative cell division.
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