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Axenic cultivation of the heterotrophic dinoflagellate pfiesteria shumwayae and observations on feeding behavior

Skelton, Hayley M., Burkholder, JoAnn M., Parrow, Matthew W.
Journal of phycology 2008 v.44 no.6 pp. 1614-1624
Pfiesteria, axenic culture, brackish water, chickens, culture media, egg yolk, feeding behavior, fish, invertebrates, microalgae, sterilizing
Pfiesteria shumwayae Glasgow et J. M. Burkh. [=Pseudopfiesteria shumwayae (Glasgow et J. M. Burkh.) Litaker, Steid., P. L. Mason, Shields et P. A. Tester] is a heterotrophic dinoflagellate commonly found in temperate, estuarine waters. P. shumwayae can feed on other protists, fish, and invertebrates, but research on the biochemical requirements of this species has been restricted by the lack of axenic cultures. An undefined, biphasic culture medium was formulated that supported the axenic growth of two of three strains of P. shumwayae. The medium contained chicken egg yolk as a major component. Successful growth depended on the method used to sterilize the medium, and maximum cell yields (10⁴ · mL⁻¹) were similar to those attained in previous research when P. shumwayae was cultured with living fish or microalgae. Additionally, P. shumwayae flagellate cells ingested particles present in the biphasic medium, allowing detailed observations of feeding behavior. This research is an initial step toward a chemically defined axenic culture medium and determination of P. shumwayae metabolic requirements.