Irradiance and Lipid Production in Natural Algal Populations

  • Bruce C. Wainman
  • Ralph E. H. Smith
  • Hakumat Rai
  • John A. Furgal


Lipids are important to aquatic ecosystems, as essential dietary components for animals (including some of economic importance in both wild and cultured food production) (Olsen, this volume), as vectors for movement of hydrophobic materials (including many important contaminants), and as the proximate agents of toxicity in a variety of organisms (Landrum and Fisher, this volume). Microalgae, including phytoplankton and attached forms such as ice algae and periphyton, are major producers of aquatic lipids. A substantial body of measurements of lipid synthesis by natural populations of microalgae has developed, thanks largely to the relative ease with which 14C and simple chemical extraction protocols can be applied to measure the intracellular allocation of recent photosynthate (Morris et al., 1981,Morris et al., 1974; ). In practice, the term photosynthate here refers to carbon incorporated (and therefore labeled) within the span of typical primary production experiments (usually 4-24 hours). Such measurements have revealed substantial variation in the synthesis and relative allocation of photosynthate to lipids, which may be related to environmental and taxonomic factors (Madariaga, 1992; Wainman and Lean, 1992).


Lipid Class Lipid Production Lipid Synthesis Photosynthetic Parameter Light Saturation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Cuhel, R.L.; Lean, D.R.S. Influence of light intensity, light quality, temperature and daylength on the uptake and assimilation of carbon dioxide and sulfate by lake plankton. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 44:2118–2132; 1987a.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cuhel, R.L.; Lean, D.R.S. Protein synthesis by lake plankton measured using in situ carbondioxide and sulfur assimilation. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 44:2102–2117; 1987b.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Fee, E.J. Computer programs for calculating in situ phytoplankton photosynthesis. Can.Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 1740; 1990.Google Scholar
  4. Fernandez, E.; Balch, W.M.; Marañón, E.; Holligan, P.M. High rates of lipid biosynthesis in cultured, mesocosm and coastal populations of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 114:13–22; 1994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fernandez, E.; Serret, P.; Madariaga, I.; Harbour, D.S.; Davies, A.G. Photosynthetic carbon metabolism and biochemical composition of spring phytoplankton assemblages enclosed in microcosms: the diatom-Phaeocystis sp. succession. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 90:89–102; 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Feuillade, M.; Feuillade, J.; Pelletier, J-P. Photosynthate partitioning in phytoplankton dominated by the cyanobacterium Oscillatoria rubescens. Arch. Hydrobiol. 125:441–461; 1992.Google Scholar
  7. Furgal, J.A. Effects of major environmental variables and ultraviolet light on photosynthetic carbon assimilation and allocation in a natural assemblage of Great Lakes phytoplankton. M.Sc. thesis, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; 1995.Google Scholar
  8. Furgal, J.A.; Smith, R.E.H. Ultraviolet radiation and photosynthesis by phytoplankton of varying light and nutrient status. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 54:1659–1667; 1997.Google Scholar
  9. Furgal, J.A.; Taylor, W.D.; Smith, R.E.H. Environmental control of photosynthate allocation in the phytoplankton of Colpoys Bay (Lake Huron). Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 55:726–736; 1998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Glover, H.E.; Smith, A.E. Diel patterns of carbon incorporation into biochemical constituents of Synechococcus spp. and larger algae in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. Mar. Biol. 97:259–267; 1988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gurr, M.I.; Harwood, J.L. Lipid Biochemistry, 4th ed. New York: Chapman & Hall; 1991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Harwood, J.L. Fatty acid metabolism. Annu. Rev. Plant Physiol. 39:101–138; 1988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hawes, I. Photosynthate partitioning in Antarctic freshwater phytoplankton: in situ incuba-tions. Freshwat. Biol. 24:193–200; 1990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Holmes, R.W. The Secchi disk in turbid coastal water. Limnol. Oceanogr. 25:688–694; 1970.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kirk., J. Light and Photosynthesis in Aquatic Systems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1983.Google Scholar
  16. Lancelot, C.; Mathot, S. Biochemical fractionation of primary production by phytoplankton in Belgian coastal waters during short-and long-term incubations with 14C-bicarbonate. Mar. Biol. 86:219–226; 1985a.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lancelot, C.; Mathot, S. Biochemical fractionation of primary production by phytoplankton in Belgian coastal waters during short-and long-term incubations with 14C-bicarbonate. Mar. Biol. 86:227–232; 1985b.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lean, D.R.S.; Pick, F.R. Photosynthetic response of lake phytoplankton to nutrient enrich-ment: a test for nutrient limitation. Limnol. Oceanogr. 26:1001–1019; 1981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Li, W.K.W.; Platt, T. Distribution of carbon among photosynthetic end-products in phy-toplankton of the eastern Canadian Arctic. J. Phycol. 18:466–471; 1982.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lombardi, A.T.; Wangersky, P.J. Influence of phosphorus and silicon on lipid class produc-tion by the marine diatom Chaetoceros gracilis grown in turbidostat cage cultures. Mar.Ecol. Prog. Ser. 77:39–47; 1991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Madariaga, I. Interspecific differences in the photosynthetic carbon metabolism of marine phytoplankton. Mar. Biol. 114:509–515; 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Maly, J.A. Vertical distribution and flux of phytoplankton and other suspended particles in a nearshore zone of western Georgian Bay (Colpoys Bay). M.Sc. thesis, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; 1992.Google Scholar
  23. McConville, M.J.; Mitchell, C.; Wetherbee, R. Patterns of carbon assimilation in a micro-algal community from annual sea ice, east Antarctica. Polar Biol. 4:135–141; 1985.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Marañón, E.; Fernandez, E.; Anadon, R. Patterns of macromolecular synthesis by natural phytoplankton assemblages under changing upwelling regimes. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol.188:1–28; 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Morris, I. Photosynthesis products, physiological state and phytoplankton growth. In: Platt, T., ed. Physiological Bases of Phytoplankton Ecology. Can. Bull. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 210:83–102; 1981.Google Scholar
  26. Morris, I.; Glover, H.E.; Yentsch, C.S. Products of photosynthesis by marine phytoplankton: the effect of environmental factors on the relative rates of protein synthesis. Mar. Biol. 27:1–9; 1974.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Munawar, M. Limnology and Fisheries of Georgian Bay and the North Channel Ecosystems. Boston: Kluwer Academic; 1988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Palmisano, A.C.; Lizotte, M.P.; Smith, G.A.; Nichols, P.D.; White, D.C.; Sullivan, C.W. Changes in photosynthetic carbon assimilation in Antarctic sea-ice diatoms during spring bloom: variations in synthesis of lipid classes. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 116:1–13; 1988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Parrish, C.C. Time series of particulate and dissolved lipid classes during spring phytoplankton blooms in Bedford Basin, a marine inlet. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 35:129–139; 1987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Parrish, C.C.; Wangersky, P.J. Particulate and dissolved lipid classes in cultures of Phaeodactylum tricornutum grown in cage culture turbidostats with a range of nitrogen supply rates. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 35:119–128; 1987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Platt, T.; Harrison, W.G.; Irwin, B.; Horne, E.P.; Gallegos, C.L. Photosynthesis and photoadaptation of marine phytoplankton in the Arctic. Deep-Sea Res. 29:1159–1170; 1982.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Post-Beitenmiller, D.; Roughan, G.; Ohlrogge, J.B. Regulation of plant fatty acid biosynthesis. Analysis of acyl-coenzyme A and acyl-acyl carrier protein substrate pools in spinach and pea chloroplasts. Plant Physiol. 100:923–930; 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Priscu, J.C.; Priscu, L.R.; Vincent, W.F.; Howard-Williams, C. Photosynthate distribution by microplankton in permanently ice-covered Antarctic desert lakes. Limnol. Oceanogr. 32:260–270; 1987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rivkin, R.B. Influence of irradiance and spectral quality on the carbon metabolism of phytoplankton. I. Photosynthesis, chemical composition and growth. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 55:291–304; 1989.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Shifrin, N.S.; Chisholm, S.W. Phytoplankton lipids: interspecific differences and effects of nitrate, silicate and light-dark cycles. J. Phycol. 17:374–384; 1981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Smith, R.E.H.; D’Souza, F.M.L. Macromolecular labelling patterns and inorganic nutrient limitation of a North Atlantic spring bloom. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 92:111–118; 1993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Smith, R.E.H.; Maly, J.A. Photosynthetic carbon assimilation and allocation by surface and deep phytoplankton in Colpoys Bay (western Georgian Bay). Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 50:2235–2244: 1993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Smith, R.E.H.; Clement, P.; Cota, G.F.; Li, W.K.W. Intracellular photosynthate allocation and the control of Arctic marine ice algal production. J. Phycol. 23:124–132; 1987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Somerville, C.; Browse, J. Plant lipids: metabolism, mutants and membranes. Science 252:80–87; 1991.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Taguchi, S.; Hirata, J.A.; Laws, E.A. Silicate deficiency and lipid synthesis of marine diatoms. J. Phycol. 23:260–267; 1987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wainman, B.C.; Lean, D.R.S. A comparison of photosynthate allocation in lakes. J. Great Lakes Res. 22:803–809; 1996.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wainman, B.C.; Lean, D.R.S. Methodological concerns in measuring the lipid fraction of carbon fixation. Hydrobiologia 273:111–120: 1994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wainman, B.C.; Lean, D.R.S. Carbon fixation into lipid in small freshwater lakes. Limnol. Oceanogr. 37:956–965; 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wainman, B.C.; Pick, F.R.; Hamilton, P.; Lean, D.R.S. Lipid production and phytoplankton species composition in small lakes. Arch. Hydrobiol. 128:197–207; 1993.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce C. Wainman
  • Ralph E. H. Smith
  • Hakumat Rai
  • John A. Furgal

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations