Stress tolerance and reactive oxygen metabolism in the intertidal red seaweeds Mastocarpus stellatus and Chondrus crispus


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Mastocarpus stellatus and Chondrus crispus are morphologically similar red seaweeds that co-occur on rocky intertidal seashores in the Northern Atlantic. Mastocarpus stellatus grows higher on the shore and is more tolerant of environmental stress, caused by factors such as freezing and desiccation, than C. crispus. Here we report a correlation between reactive oxygen metabolism and stress tolerance, which suggests that reactive oxygen metabolism may play a role in stress tolerance of intertidal red seaweeds. Mastocarpus stellatus scavenged added H2O2 slightly faster, and was more resistant to oxidative stress induced by addition of H2O2 and Rose Bengal, than C. crispus. These data were consistent with higher levels of ascorbate and β-carotene and higher activities of catalase and glutathione reductase, in M. stellatus. Tocopherol content and activities of superoxide dismutase and ascorbate peroxidase were similar in both species. Activities of reactive oxygen scavenging enzymes generally increased with tidal height in M. stellatus; this was, however, not a consistent trend in C. crispus.