Levels of diatom minor sterols respond to changes in temperature and salinity

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Journal Article
Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 2020, 8, (2)
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© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Diatoms are a broadly distributed and evolutionarily diversified group of microalgae that produce a diverse range of sterol compounds. Sterols are triterpenoids that play essential roles in membrane-related processes in eukaryotic cells. Some sterol compounds possess bioactivities that promote human health and are currently used as nutraceuticals. The relationship between sterol diversity in diatoms and their acclimation to different environments is not well understood. In this study, we investigated the occurrence of different sterol types across twelve diatom species, as well as the effect of temperature reduction and changes in salinity on the sterol contents of three model diatom species. In the diatoms Thalassiosira pseudonana, Phaeodactylum tricornutum and Chaetoceros muelleri, we found that changes in the relative contents of minor sterols accompanied shifts in temperature and salinity. This may be indicative of acquired adaptive traits in diatom metabolism.
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