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pH and CO2 effects on Coelastrella (Scotiellopsis) rubescens growth and metabolism

Minyuk, G. S., Chelebieva, E. S., Chubchikova, I. N., Dantsyuk, N. V., Drobetskaya, I. V., Sakhon, E. G., Chivkunova, O. B., Chekanov, K. A., Lobakova, E. S., Sidorov, R. A., Solovchenko, A. E.
Russian journal of plant physiology 2016 v.63 no.4 pp. 566-574
Scenedesmaceae, alkalinization, astaxanthin, biomass production, carbon dioxide, cell division, chlorophyll, dry matter accumulation, fatty acid composition, lipid content, microalgae, nitrogen, pH, phosphorus, photosynthesis, polyunsaturated fatty acids, specific growth rate
We studied effects of рН and СО₂ enrichment on the physiological condition and biochemical composition of a carotenogenic microalga Coelastrella (Scotiellopsis Vinatzer) rubescens Kaufnerová et Eliás (Scenedesmaceae, Sphaeropleales, Chlorophyceae), a promising source of natural astaxanthin. The microalga was grown at a constant pH (5, 6, 7 or 8) maintained by direct СО₂ injection. The air-sparged culture served as the control. Cell division rate and size, dry biomass productivity, the rates of nitrogen and phosphorus uptake as well as photosynthetic pigment and total lipid content and fatty acid composition were followed. С. rubescens possessed a narrow-range рН tolerance (the optimum рН 6–7). Under these conditions, the highest values of the maximum (1.0–1.1 1/day) and average (0.3–0.35 1/day) specific growth rate, chlorophyll а (4.8–4.9%) and total carotenoid dry weight percentages (1.7–1.8%) were recorded. Cell lipid fatty acid unsaturation index (1.851) and polyunsaturated fatty acid percentage (36–39%) and С18:3 ω3/С18:1 ω9 ratio (3.8–4.5) were also the highest under these conditions. A decline of рН to 5 brought about severe stress manifesting itself as a cell division cessation, photosynthetic apparatus reduction, two-fold increase in cell volume, accumulation of dry weight and lipids and a considerable decline in fatty acid unsaturation. Cultivation of С. rubescens without СО₂ enrichment resulted in a rapid alkalization of the medium to рН 9.5–10.5 impairing the physiological condition of the cells. Reasons of the deteriorative effects of suboptimal pH values on the physiological condition of C. rubescens are discussed.