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Recent Student Publications

Cell cycle arrest and biochemical changes accompanying cell death in harmful dinoflagellates following exposure to bacterial algicide IRI-160AA.

Kaytee L. Pokrzywinski, Charles L. Tilney, Mark E. Warner and Kathryn J. Coyne

Published in Scientific Reports, volume 7, article number 45102. (2017) (LINK)


Bacteria may play a role in regulating harmful algal blooms, but little is known about the biochemical and physiological changes associated with cell death induced by algicidal bacteria. Previous work characterized an algicidal exudate (IRI-160AA) produced by Shewanella sp. IRI-160 that is effective against dinoflagellates, while having little to no effect on other phytoplankton species in laboratory culture experiments. The objective of this study was to evaluate biochemical changes associated with cell death and impacts on the cell cycle in three dinoflagellate species (Prorocentrum minimum, Karlodinium veneficum and Gyrodinium instriatum) after exposure to IRI-160AA. In this study, IRI-160AA induced cell cycle arrest in all dinoflagellates examined. Several indicators for programmed cell death (PCD) that are often observed in phytoplankton in response to a variety of stressors were also evaluated. Cell death was accompanied by significant increases in DNA degradation, intra- and extracellular ROS concentrations and DEVDase (caspase-3 like) protease activity, which have been associated with PCD in other phytoplankton species. Overall, results of this investigation provide strong evidence that treatment with the bacterial algicide, IRI-160AA results in cell cycle arrest and induces biochemical changes consistent with stress-related cell death responses observed in other phytoplankton.

Light intensity impacts the production of biofuel intermediates in Heterosigma akashiwo growing on simulated flue gas containing carbon dioxide and nitric oxide.

Colleen Bianco, Jennifer J. Stewart, Katherine R. Miller, C. Fitzgerald, and Kathryn J. Coyne

Published in Bioresource Technology, volume 219, pages 246-251 (2016) (LINK)


As a potential biofuel feedstock, the marine microalga, Heterosigma akashiwo, accumulates significant lipids, is capable of long-term growth in outdoor photobioreactors, and is an excellent candidate for the bioremediation of industrial emissions. Here, we evaluated resource partitioning in H. akashiwo growing on a CO2 and NO gas mixture under three light intensities: 160, 560, or 1200 μmol quanta m−2 s−1. Light levels had no effect on growth; however, cultures in high light accumulated 2.3-fold more carbohydrates and 17% fewer lipids. Light levels did not affect the percentage of saturated fatty acids, but mono-unsaturates increased by 6% and poly-unsaturates decreased by 12% in high light. The fatty acid profiles reported here suggest that H. akashiwo is a good candidate for the production of neutral lipids for biodiesel and also omega-3 fatty acids, and that the quality of biodiesel acquired from feedstocks grown under fluctuating light conditions would be relatively stable.


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