Original paper

Iron acquisition by the green alga Selenastrum minutum: Growth in iron-limited chemostats and effects of chelator stability constant

Collins, Christopher M.; Anderson, Andrea M.; Weger, Harold G.

Archiv für Hydrobiologie Volume 151 Number 2 (2001), p. 283 - 299

58 references

published: Apr 27, 2001

DOI: 10.1127/archiv-hydrobiol/151/2001/283

BibTeX file

ArtNo. ESP141015102004, Price: 29.00 €

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The unicellular green alga Selenastrum minutum was successfully cultured in an iron-limited chemostat system, under a wide range of iron-limited growth rates. Steady-state biomass was a function of the concentration of the limiting nutrient (Fe3+) in the medium. Respiratory and photosynthetic activities both increased with increasing iron-limited growth rate of S. minutum, as did the amount of chlorophyll per cell. Contrary to a Strategy I green alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, which displays greatly enhanced plasma membrane ferric chelate reductase activity as a result of iron limitation, cells of S. minutum displayed low activity of this enzyme under both ironlimited and iron-sufficient culture conditions. As well, the addition of BPDS, a strong chelator of Fe2+ to iron-limited S. minutum chemostat cultures had no discemable effect on culture biomass. These results strongly suggest that S. minutum does not use a Strategy I mechanism of iron acquisition. In contrast to C. reinhardtii, there was an inverse relationship between the stability constant of the ferric chelator (HEDTA, EDDHA, HBED) and steady state S. minutum culture biomass. However, the calculated free Fe3+ levels provided a poor estimate of iron-limited S. minutum biomass, suggesting that S. minutum has the ability to directly access chelated Fe3+ There was no evidence for production of chelators or siderophores as a response to iron limitation, possibly suggesting that Strategy II iron acquisition is also not involved. The experiments described in this paper represent the first description of a successful iron-limited chemostat culture system of a non-Strategy I organism, and clearly indicate that the iron acquisition mechanism of S. minutum differs from the well-characterized Strategy I system of C. reinhardtii.


ChelatorsChlamydomonasiron-limited chemostat cultureSelenastrumstability constants