Direct measurement of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) in reef-building corals using quantitative nuclear magnetic resonance (qNMR) spectroscopy

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Journal Article
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 2013, 443 pp. 85 - 89
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Reef building corals are among the largest producers of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), a sulfur molecule synthesized by their endosymbiotic dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium. DMSP is potentially involved in important physiological and ecological processes in corals, but investigating the functional role of this molecule requires rapid and accurate quantification techniques. Here we introduce a simple method enabling direct quantification of DMSP and one of its breakdown products acrylate using quantitative nuclear magnetic resonance (qNMR) spectroscopy. The method was tested on a range of coral genera and presents a number of advantages over currently used quantification techniques, including simultaneous and direct quantification of multiple molecules from the same extract, and rapid processing with high reproducibility enabling analyses of large numbers of samples in short time periods. The method was successfully applied to environmental samples and provides the first baseline information on diel variation of DMSP and acrylate concentrations in the coral Acropora millepora. •We describe a new method enabling direct quantification of DMSP in corals.•This method presents several advantages over current measurement techniques.•It was successfully applied to measure diurnal DMSP variations in corals.•The method could easily be used to quantify DMSP in other organisms. © 2013 Elsevier B.V..
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