Phylogenetic Diversity in the Macromolecular Composition of Microalgae
Author(s)Finkel, Zoe V.; Liefer, Justin D.; Brown, Chris M.; Benner, Ina; Irwin, Andrew J.; Follows, Michael J; ... Show more Show less
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The elemental stoichiometry of microalgae reflects their underlying macromolecular composition and influences competitive interactions among species and their role in the food web and biogeochemistry. Here we provide a new estimate of the macromolecular composition of microalgae using a hierarchical Bayesian analysis of data compiled from the literature. The median macromolecular composition of nutrient-sufficient exponentially growing microalgae is 32.2% protein, 17.3% lipid, 15.0% carbohydrate, 17.3% ash, 5.7% RNA, 1.1% chlorophyll-a and 1.0% DNA as percent dry weight. Our analysis identifies significant phylogenetic differences in macromolecular composition undetected by previous studies due to small sample sizes and the large inherent variability in macromolecular pools. The phylogenetic differences in macromolecular composition lead to variations in carbon-to-nitrogen ratios that are consistent with independent observations. These phylogenetic differences in macromolecular and elemental composition reflect adaptations in cellular architecture and biochemistry; specifically in the cell wall, the light harvesting apparatus, and storage pools.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
Public Library of Science
Finkel, Zoe V., Mick J. Follows, Justin D. Liefer, Chris M. Brown, Ina Benner, and Andrew J. Irwin. “Phylogenetic Diversity in the Macromolecular Composition of Microalgae.” Edited by Jean-François Humbert. PLoS ONE 11, no. 5 (May 26, 2016): e0155977.
Final published version