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Physiological responses of the freshwater N2‐fixing cyanobacterium Raphidiopsis raciborskii to Fe and N availabilities

Fu, Qing‐Long, Yeung, Anna C. Y., Fujii, Manabu, Neilan, Brett A., Waite, T. David
Environmental microbiology 2019 v.21 no.4 pp. 1211-1223
Raphidiopsis, freshwater, iron, metabolism, nitrogen fixation, physiological response, radiolabeling, toxicity
The cyanobacterium Raphidiopsis raciborskii is of environmental and social concern in view of its toxicity, bloom‐forming characteristics and increasingly widespread occurrence. However, while availability of macronutrients and micronutrients such as N and Fe are critically important for the growth and metabolism of this organism, the physiological response of toxic and non‐toxic strains of R. raciborskii to varying Fe and N availabilities remains unclear. By determining physiological parameters as a function of Fe and N availability, we demonstrate that R. raciborskii growth and N₂‐fixing activity are facilitated at higher Fe availability under N₂‐limited conditions with faster growth of the CS‐506 (cylindrospermopsin‐producing) strain compared with that of CS‐509 (the non‐toxic) strain. Radiolabelled Fe uptake assays indicated that R. raciborskii acclimated under Fe‐limited conditions acquires Fe at significantly higher rates than under Fe replete conditions, principally via unchelated Fe(II) generated as a result of photoreduction of complexed Fe(III). While N₂‐fixation of both strains occurred during both day and night, the CS‐506 strain overall exhibited higher N₂‐fixing and Fe uptake rates than the CS‐509 strain under N‐deficient and Fe‐limited conditions. The findings of this study highlight that Fe availability is of significance for the ecological advantage of CS‐506 over CS‐509 in N‐deficient freshwaters.