Macroalgal responses to nitrogen source and availability: Amino acid metabolic profiling as a bioindicator using Gracilaria edulis (Rhodophyta) (Page 1)  
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Macroalgal responses to nitrogen source and availability: Amino acid metabolic profiling as a bioindicator using Gracilaria edulis (Rhodophyta)

The use of macroalgae as biological indicators of dissolved nutrient source and availability ill the water column was investigated. Total tissue nitrogen (N) content, pigments, and amino acids of the red alga _Gracilaria edulis_ (Gmelin) Silva were compared to N source and availability in laboratory and field incubations to identify responses that would serve as bioindicators of N. Field-collected algae were preincubated (6-8 wk) in low-nutrient seawater to deplete their luxury reserves of N. Incubations were then conducted for periods of 3 d in laboratory aquaria (N-spiked seawater) and in the field using macroalgal incubation chambers. After incubation in different N sources (NH[sub:4][super:+], NO[sub:3][super:-], and urea) in laboratory aquaria, photosynthetic pigments (phycoerythrin and chlorophyll _a_) and total tissue N increased, in response to increasing [NH[sub:4][super:+]] but not to [NO[sub:3][super:-]] or [urea]. Incubation in two ranges of [NH[sub:4][super:+]], one from 0 to 80 [mu]M and the other from 0 to 800 [mu]M, in laboratory aquaria increased the total amino acid pool. Citrulline concentrations were the most responsive to [NH[sub:4][super:+]] (r([super:2]) = 0.84). NH4+ source treatments produced increases in citrulline, phenylalanine, serine, and free NH[sub:4][super:+] and decreases in alanine; NO[sub:3][super:-] treatments produced increases in glutamic acid, citrulline, and alanine; and urea treatments produced increases in free NH[sub:4][super:+] and decreases in phenylalanine and serine. The observed variations in amino acid content facilitated the development of an index for each N source based on relative concentrations of various amino acids (i.e. metabolic profiling). _Gracilaria edulis_ was incubated along a field N gradient in the Brisbane River (three sites) and Moreton Bay (four sites), Queensland, Australia. Both phycoerythrin and tissue N appeared to respond equally to NH[sub:4][super:+] and NO[sub:3][super:-] availability in the field. N source indices, based on amino acid concentration, were effective predictors of both [NH[sub:4][super:+]] and [NO[sub:3][super:-]] over a wide range of concentrations along the field gradient. Macroalgal physiological responses, particularly amino acid content, to changes in source and availability of N appear to be useful as sensitive bioindicators of N.

Keywords: amino acids, bioindicator, Gracilaria edulis, macroalgae, metabolic, profiling, nutrients, pigments, Rhodophyta, tissue nitrogen, water, quality, 2 red algae, biochemical-composition, chondrus-crispus, outdoor, cultures, nitrate uptake, growth, tikvahiae, light, phaeophyta, ammonium

Author(s)Jones AB, Dennison WC, and Stewart GR
IAN Author(s)Adrian Jones, Bill Dennison
Journal / BookJournal Of Phycology 32 (5): 757-766
TypePaper | Journal Article
Location(s)Moreton Bay
Number of Pages10