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Effects of Copper and pH on the Growth and Physiology of Desmodesmus sp. AARLG074

1
Master’s Degree Program in Applied Microbiology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
2
Center of Excellence in Bioresources for Agriculture, Industry and Medicine, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
3
Plant Metabolism Group, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EA, UK
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Metabolites 2019, 9(5), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo9050084
Received: 3 April 2019 / Revised: 26 April 2019 / Accepted: 27 April 2019 / Published: 30 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolites from Phototrophic Prokaryotes and Algae Volume 2)
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Abstract

Copper (Cu) is a heavy metal that is widely used in industry and as such wastewater from mining or industrial operations can contain high levels of Cu. Some aquatic algal species can tolerate and bioaccumulate Cu and so could play a key role in bioremediating and recovering Cu from polluted waterways. One such species is the green alga Desmodesmus sp. AARLG074. The aim of this study was to determine how Desmodesmus is able to tolerate large alterations in its external Cu and pH environment. Specifically, we set out to measure the variations in the Cu removal efficiency, growth, ultrastructure, and cellular metabolite content in the algal cells that are associated with Cu exposure and acidity. The results showed that Desmodesmus could remove up to 80% of the copper presented in Jaworski’s medium after 30 min exposure. There was a decrease in the ability of Cu removal at pH 4 compared to pH 6 indicating both pH and Cu concentration affected the efficiency of Cu removal. Furthermore, Cu had an adverse effect on algal growth and caused ultrastructural changes. Metabolite fingerprinting (FT-IR and GC-MS) revealed that the polysaccharide and amino acid content were the main metabolites affected under acid and Cu exposure. Fructose, lactose and sorbose contents significantly decreased under both acidic and Cu conditions, whilst glycerol and melezitose contents significantly increased at pH 4. The pathway analysis showed that pH had the highest impact score on alanine, aspartate and glutamate metabolism whereas Cu had the highest impact on arginine and proline metabolism. Notably both Cu and pH had impact on glutathione and galactose metabolism. View Full-Text
Keywords: algae; copper; FT-IR; metabolite fingerprinting; pathway analysis; TEM algae; copper; FT-IR; metabolite fingerprinting; pathway analysis; TEM
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Buayam, N.; Davey, M.P.; Smith, A.G.; Pumas, C. Effects of Copper and pH on the Growth and Physiology of Desmodesmus sp. AARLG074. Metabolites 2019, 9, 84.

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