Response of cellular stoichiometry and phosphorus storage of the cyanobacteria Aphanizomenon flos-aquae to small-scale turbulence
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Turbulent mixing, in particular on a small scale, affects the growth of microalgae by changing diffusive sublayers and regulating nutrient fluxes of cells. We tested the nutrient flux hypothesis by evaluating the cellular stoichiometry and phosphorus storage of microalgae under different turbulent mixing conditions. Aphanizomenon flos-aquae were cultivated in different stirring batch reactors with turbulent dissipation rates ranging from 0.001 51 m2/s3 to 0.050 58 m2/s3, the latter being the highest range observed in natural aquatic systems. Samples were taken in the exponential growth phase and compared with samples taken when the reactor was completely stagnant. Results indicate that, within a certain range, turbulent mixing stimulates the growth of A. flos-aquae. An inhibitory effect on growth rate was observed at the higher range. Photosynthesis activity, in terms of maximum effective quantum yield of PSII (the ratio of Fv/Fm) and cellular chlorophyll a, did not change significantly in response to turbulence. However, Chl a/C mass ratio and C/N molar ratio, showed a unimodal response under a gradient of turbulent mixing, similar to growth rate. Moreover, we found that increases in turbulent mixing might stimulate respiration rates, which might lead to the use of polyphosphate for the synthesis of cellular constituents. More research is required to test and verify the hypothesis that turbulent mixing changes the diffusive sublayer, regulating the nutrient flux of cells.
KeywordsAphanizomenon flos-aquae cellular stoichiometry photosynthesis polyphosphate turbulent dissipation rate
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