Distribution of intracellular nitrogen in marine microalgae: Calculation of new nitrogen-to-protein conversion factors

Lourenco S.O.; Barbarino E.; Lavín, P. L.; Lanfer Marquez U.M.; Aidar E.

Keywords: bacteria, protein, nitrogen, measurement, nutrient, microalga, budget, method, (microorganisms)


Nitrogen budgets in microalgae are strongly affected by growth conditions and physiological state of the cultures. As a consequence, protein N (PN) to total N (TN) ratio may be variable in microalgae grown in batch cultures, and this may limit the usefulness of the nitrogen-to-protein conversion factors (N-Prot factors), the most practical way of determining protein content. The accuracy of protein determination by this method depends on the establishment of specific N-Prot factors, and experimental data are needed to fill this gap. Complementing a previous study, the present work was designed to quantify the fluctuations of the main nitrogenous compounds during the growth of 12 species of marine microalgae, as well as to determine N-Prot factors for them. The microalgae were cultured in two experimental conditions: (a) using a N-replete culture medium (initial N concentration, 1.18 mM) and aeration, and (b) with a N-depleted culture medium (initial N concentration, 235 ?M) and no aeration. The distribution of intracellular nitrogen was studied by constructing budgets of different nitrogen pools in different growth phases of the cultures. In all species, large variations occurred in the distribution of PN and non-protein N (NPN) in the treatments tested and in different growth phases. Intracellular inorganic nitrogen (NO3-, NO2- and NH3 + NH4+) was the most important NPN component (0.4 - 30.4% of TN) in all species, followed by nucleic acids (0.3-12.2% of TN), and chlorophylls (0.1-1.8% of TN). The relative importance of NPN was greater in the exponential phase, decreasing during growth. PN ranged from 59.3 to 96.8% of TN. N-Prot factors are proposed for each of the species studied, based on the ratio of amino acid residues to TN, with values ranging from 2.53 to 5.77. Based on current results and on the previous study, we establish an overall average N-Prot factor for all species, treatments and growth phases of 4.78 ± 0.62 (n = 354). This study confirms that the use of the traditional factor 6.25 is unsuitable for marine microalgae, and the use of the N-Prot factors proposed here is recommended.

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Título según SCOPUS: Distribution of intracellular nitrogen in marine microalgae: Calculation of new nitrogen-to-protein conversion factors
Volumen: 39
Número: 1
Fecha de publicación: 2004
Página de inicio: 17
Página final: 32
Idioma: English
URL: http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?eid=2-s2.0-1642410386&partnerID=q2rCbXpz