Storage Compound Accumulation in Diatoms as Response to Elevated CO 2 Concentration

Biology (Basel). 2019 Dec 24;9(1):5. doi: 10.3390/biology9010005.


Accumulation of reserve compounds (i.e., lipids and chrysolaminarin) in diatoms depends on the environmental conditions, and is often triggered by stress conditions, such as nutrient limitation. Manipulation of CO2 supply can also be used to improve both lipids and carbohydrates accumulation. Given the high diversity among diatoms, we studied the two marine model diatoms-Thalassiosira pseudonana and Phaeodactylum tricornutum, a freshwater diatom, Asterionella formosa, and Navicula pelliculosa-found in fresh- and sea-water environments. We measured the accumulation of reserve compounds and the activity of enzymes involved in carbon metabolism in these diatoms grown at high and atmospheric CO2. We observed that biomass and lipid accumulation in cells grown at high CO2 differ among the diatoms. Lipid accumulation increased only in P. tricornutum and N. pelliculosa grown in seawater in response to elevated CO2. Moreover, accumulation of lipids was also accompanied by an increased activity of the enzymes tested. However, lipid accumulation and enzyme activity decreased in N. pelliculosa cultured in fresh water. Chrysolaminarin accumulation was also affected by CO2 concentration; however, there was no clear relation with lipids accumulation. Our results are relevant to understand better the ecological role of the environment in the diatom adaptation to CO2 and the mechanisms underpinning the production of storage compounds considering diatom diversity.

Keywords: CO2; chrysolaminarin; diatoms; triacylglycerol.