Journal Highlight: FTIR spectra of algal species can be used as physiological fingerprints to assess their actual growth potential

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  • Published: Dec 3, 2012
  • Author: spectroscopyNOW
  • Channels: Infrared Spectroscopy
thumbnail image: Journal Highlight: FTIR spectra of algal species can be used as physiological fingerprints to assess their actual growth potential

FTIR spectra of algal species can be used as physiological fingerprints to assess their actual growth potential

Physiologia Plantarum, 2012, 146, 427-438
Christian Jebsen, Alessandra Norici, Heiko Wagner, Matteo Palmucci, Mario Giordano, Christian Wilhelm

FTIR spectra were measured from cells of two algal species, whose growth rates were manipulated by the availability of nutrients or light, and a species-specific model was developed to predict the growth rate.

Abstract: Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra were measured from cells of Microcystis aeruginosa and Protoceratium reticulatum, whose growth rates were manipulated by the availability of nutrients or light. As expected, the macromolecular composition changed in response to the treatments. These changes were species-specific and depended on the type of perturbation applied to the growth regime. Microcystis aeruginosa showed an increase in the carbohydrate-to-protein ratio with decreased growth rates, under nutrient limitation, whereas light limitation induced a decrease of the carbohydrate-to-protein ratio with decreasing proliferation rates. The macromolecular pools of P. reticulatum showed a higher degree of compositional homeostasis. Only when the lowest light irradiance and nutrient availability were supplied, an increase of the carbohydrate-to-protein FTIR absorbance ratio was observed. A species-specific partial least squares (PLS) model was developed using the whole FTIR spectra. This model afforded a very high correlation between the predicted and the measured growth rates, regardless of the growth conditions. On the contrary, the prediction based on absorption band ratios generally used in FTIR studies would strongly depend on growth conditions. This new computational method could constitute a substantial improvement in the early warning systems of algal blooms and, in general, for the study of algal growth, e.g. in biotechnology. Furthermore, these results confirm the suitability of FTIR spectroscopy as a tool to map complex biological processes like growth under different environmental conditions.

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