Special Issue "Metabolism in Phototrophic Prokaryotes and Algae"


A special issue of Metabolites (ISSN 2218-1989).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Dirk Steinhauser
Department Molecular Physiology, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Am Mühlenberg 1, 14476 Potsdam-Golm, Germany
Website: http://www.mpimp-golm.mpg.de/130453/7steinhauser
E-Mail: steinhauser@mpimp-golm.mpg.de
Phone: +49 331 567 8216
Interests: metabolic diversity and evolution; systems metabolomics, synthetic biology; computational biology and bioinformatics Contribution

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Phototrophic prokaryotes and algae play an important role as primary producers in the global carbon and nitrogen cycle on Earth. Accordingly they have been the focus of research since many decades, especially with respect to their exploitability as a source for the production of renewable energy. Furthermore, the multitudes of secondary metabolites produced are of potential industrial importance as they can be used for pharmaceuticals against bacterial and viral infections or as food supplements just to name some. In addition, phototropic microalgae, which are of relatively simple architecture, have increasingly been used in basic research as models to study the photosynthetic processes in single cells. Still, there remain many open questions in particular regarding algal metabolism and metabolic diversity.

The ever-growing body of complete genome information of phototrophic prokaryotes and algae provides an unprecedented data source to explore their metabolic capabilities which have already led to new and surprising metabolic findings. As metabolites can be considered an important cellular response to environmental perturbations, metabolomics, in conjunction with data from genomics and post-genomics high-throughput ‘omics’ approaches, will facilitate insights into the molecular mechanisms, functions, and evolution of metabolic and associated regulatory pathways. Additionally, this will further enhance our biochemical and metabolic knowledge related to phototrophic prokaryotes and algae, provide the fundamental framework to exploit their potential usage in biotechnology and will also opened novel research avenues in both plant and non-plant systems.

Therefore this special issue of Metabolites will be dedicated to the metabolism in phototrophic prokaryotes and algae. We will consider review articles as well as original research papers with special focus on any aspect of metabolism, its regulation, evolution, and diversity in these organisms. The focus can be either on a single organism or on comparative studies. Furthermore, original research article related to method improvements and development (e.g. culturing, harvesting, software development and biochemical / analytical approach) are also welcome, as such work represents the basic foundation to deepen our insight into the algal metabolism.

Dr. Dirk Steinhauser
Guest Editor


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Metabolites is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 500 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


  • phototrophic prokaryotes and algae
  • metabolism and metabolomics
  • metabolic networks and modeling
  • metabolic diversity
  • metabolic and pathway evolution
  • primary and secondary metabolites
  • functional and comparative genomics
  • bioinformatics and systems biology
  • biochemical and analytic methods

Published Papers (9 papers)

Metabolites 2014, 4(2), 232-247; doi:10.3390/metabo4020232
Received: 27 February 2014; in revised form: 14 April 2014 / Accepted: 16 April 2014 / Published: 22 April 2014
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Metabolites 2014, 4(2), 184-217; doi:10.3390/metabo4020184
Received: 7 February 2014; in revised form: 23 March 2014 / Accepted: 25 March 2014 / Published: 11 April 2014
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Metabolites 2013, 3(2), 463-483; doi:10.3390/metabo3020463
Received: 8 February 2013; in revised form: 7 May 2013 / Accepted: 22 May 2013 / Published: 30 May 2013
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Metabolites 2013, 3(2), 325-346; doi:10.3390/metabo3020325
Received: 4 March 2013; in revised form: 25 April 2013 / Accepted: 25 April 2013 / Published: 7 May 2013
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Metabolites 2013, 3(2), 294-311; doi:10.3390/metabo3020294
Received: 14 January 2013; in revised form: 4 April 2013 / Accepted: 8 April 2013 / Published: 18 April 2013
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Metabolites 2013, 3(1), 168-184; doi:10.3390/metabo3010168
Received: 1 February 2013; in revised form: 1 March 2013 / Accepted: 1 March 2013 / Published: 11 March 2013
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Metabolites 2013, 3(1), 144-154; doi:10.3390/metabo3010144
Received: 27 December 2012; in revised form: 6 February 2013 / Accepted: 7 February 2013 / Published: 18 February 2013
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Metabolites 2013, 3(1), 101-118; doi:10.3390/metabo3010101
Received: 20 December 2012; in revised form: 28 January 2013 / Accepted: 30 January 2013 / Published: 6 February 2013
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Metabolites 2013, 3(1), 72-100; doi:10.3390/metabo3010072
Received: 20 December 2012; in revised form: 23 January 2013 / Accepted: 23 January 2013 / Published: 4 February 2013
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Review
Title: Stress Physiology and Metabolism in Green and Blue Green Lichen Algae
Author: Elfie Stocker-Wörgötter
Affiliation: Department of Organismic Biology, Ecology and Biodiversity of Plants, University of Salzburg, Austria; E-Mail: Elfriede.Stocker@sbg.ac.at
Abstract: Lichens are symbiotic organisms composed of mainly ascomycetous fungi and green and/or cyanobacterial algae (photo-, cyanobionts); during co-evolution having become organised and finally forming a layered, complex structure known as thallus. Most lichen thalli host further inhabitants like bacteria, lichenicolous fungi and sometimes even epibiontic algae that may or may not have an impact on the major symbionts. For this reason lichens are better interpreted as micro- or mini-ecosystems, which colonize preferentially stressfull environments. Lichens are commonly distributed in cold (arctic, antarctic), warm (temperate), hot (tropical), but sometimes in temporarily very wet, but also in very dry environments, occuring as “aquatic“ lichens or together with procaryotic organisms as soil crusts in deserts, semideserts and also in high alpine regions. Lichen algae, photobionts and cyanobionts have to overcome inhospitable harsh climatic and ecophysiological conditions; under such circumstances, in particular, the photobionts have adopted biochemical and physiological survival strategies that allow them to grow exposed to extremely high solar fluxes, high and low temperature fluctuations, high rates of water evaporation and prolonged periods of desiccation, e.g. on rock and bark surfaces. To survive within lichen thalli, the photo/cyanobionts in the algal layer, under very dry conditions were able to adapt a metabolism with biochemical and physical mechanisms (summarized as desiccation tolerance, adaptations to temperature and light shifts and to water availability) that allow them to endure unfavourable conditions and have the capacity to return to full metabolic activity and life after having overcome a particular stress situation (drought, etc.) We have studied lichen algae and fungi in the symbiotic and free-living state (under field conditions, photo- and cyanobiont cultures) over many years, especially lichens with green photobionts (e.g. species of the genera Trebouxia, Asterochloris, Stichococcus, Coccomyxa, Trentepohlia) and cyanobiont taxa (like Nostoc, Stigonema, and Scytonema). The planned review article will give a comprehensive overview about the recent knowledge of metabolism in lichen algae and cyanobacteria. A first section will report about biochemical and transport processes by which lichen algae transfer sugars and polyols to the lichen fungus, how lichen fungi protect their algal colonies from high levels of solar irradiation, mechanisms of light harvesting by different types of lichen algae/cyanbacteria, carbon acquisition and aspects of nitrogen metabolism (cyanobionts). A further topic will highlight the influence of algal primary metabolism on the formation of unique secondary metabolites. In the last part the consequences of growth in extreme environments, such as nutrient limitation, exposure to high levels of visible and UV light and drastic shifts in temperature and thallus water contents will be considered. Products of lichen algae, suitable for biotechnology and potential pharmaceutical applications will be briefly described.

Last update: 6 February 2014

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