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Toxins 2014, 6(1), 229-253;

Simultaneous Effect of Temperature and Irradiance on Growth and Okadaic Acid Production from the Marine Dinoflagellate Prorocentrum belizeanum

Area of Chemical Engineering, University of Almería, Almería 04120, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 November 2013 / Revised: 24 December 2013 / Accepted: 27 December 2013 / Published: 3 January 2014
(This article belongs to the Collection Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
PDF [795 KB, uploaded 3 January 2014]


Benthic marine dioflagellate microalgae belonging to the genus Prorocentrum are a major source of okadaic acid (OA), OA analogues and polyketides. However, dinoflagellates produce these valuable toxins and bioactives in tiny quantities, and they grow slowly compared to other commercially used microalgae. This hinders evaluation in possible large-scale applications. The careful selection of producer species is therefore crucial for success in a hypothetical scale-up of culture, as are appropriate environmental conditions for optimal growth. A clone of the marine toxic dinoflagellate P. belizeanum was studied in vitro to evaluate its capacities to grow and produce OA as an indicator of general polyketide toxin production under the simultaneous influence of temperature (T) and irradiance (I0). Three temperatures and four irradiance levels were tested (18, 25 and 28 °C; 20, 40, 80 and 120 µE·m−2·s−1), and the response variables measured were concentration of cells, maximum photochemical yield of photosystem II (PSII), pigments and OA. Experiments were conducted in T-flasks, since their parallelepipedal geometry proved ideal to ensure optically thin cultures, which are essential for reliable modeling of growth-irradiance curves. The net maximum specific growth rate (µm) was 0.204 day−1 at 25 °C and 40 µE·m−2·s−1. Photo-inhibition was observed at I0 > 40 μEm−2s−1, leading to culture death at 120 µE·m−2·s−1 and 28 °C. Cells at I0 ≥ 80 µE·m−2·s−1 were photoinhibited irrespective of the temperature assayed. A mechanistic model for µm-I0 curves and another empirical model for relating µm-T satisfactorily interpreted the growth kinetics obtained. ANOVA for responses of PSII maximum photochemical yield and pigment profile has demonstrated that P. belizeanum is extremely light sensitive. The pool of photoprotective pigments (diadinoxanthin and dinoxanthin) and peridinin was not able to regulate the excessive light-absorption at high I0-T. OA synthesis in cells was decoupled from optimal growth conditions, as OA overproduction was observed at high temperatures and when both temperature and irradiance were low. T-flask culture observations were consistent with preliminary assays outdoors. View Full-Text
Keywords: dinoflagellate; microalga; irradiance; temperature; photobioreactor; Prorocentrum belizeanum; modelling dinoflagellate; microalga; irradiance; temperature; photobioreactor; Prorocentrum belizeanum; modelling

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López-Rosales, L.; Gallardo-Rodríguez, J.J.; Sánchez-Mirón, A.; Cerón-García, M.D.C.; Belarbi, E.H.; García-Camacho, F.; Molina-Grima, E. Simultaneous Effect of Temperature and Irradiance on Growth and Okadaic Acid Production from the Marine Dinoflagellate Prorocentrum belizeanum. Toxins 2014, 6, 229-253.

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