REAPPRAISAL OF PHYSIOLOGICAL ATTRIBUTES OF NINE STRAINS OF DUNALIELLA (CHLOROPHYCEAE): GROWTH AND PIGMENT CONTENT ACROSS A SALINITY GRADIENT

Authors

  • Ana S. Cifuentes,

    1. Departamento de Botánica, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanográficas, Universidad de Concepción, Casilla 2407,
      Concepción, Chile
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  • Mariela A. González,

    Corresponding author
    1. Departamento de Botánica, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanográficas, Universidad de Concepción, Casilla 2407,
      Concepción, Chile
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  • Ingrid Inostroza,

    1. Departamento de Botánica, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanográficas, Universidad de Concepción, Casilla 2407,
      Concepción, Chile
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  • Alejandra Aguilera

    1. Departamento de Botánica, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanográficas, Universidad de Concepción, Casilla 2407,
      Concepción, Chile
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Author for correspondence: e-mail mgonzale@udec.cl.

Abstract

Among the few taxonomic characters used to circumscribe sections within the subgenus Dunaliella are the physiological response to changes in salt concentration, which define a specific range for optimal growth, and the carotenogenic ability of the vegetative cells, responsible for the change in cell color from green to orange or red, under suboptimal culture conditions. Previous work based on molecular data from seven taxa of different sections of the subgenus showed no correlation between the genetic relationship inferred from the internal transcribed spacer RFLP data and the morphophysiological attributes in use in taxonomy. The present work was performed to experimentally reevaluate the physiological attributes in the same seven previous taxa (D. tertiolecta Butcher UTEX 999 and CCMP 1320, D. parva Lerche UTEX 1983 and CCMP 362, D. salina Teodoresco UTEX 200, D. viridis Teodoresco CONC 002, and D. peircei Nicolai et Baas Becking UTEX 2192) adding D. parva CCAP 19/9 and D. pseudosalina Massyuk et Radchenko CONC 010. Growth responses and pigment content in a wide range of NaCl concentrations were assessed. The results revealed that two strains of D. parva, two strains of D. tertiolecta, and one strain of D. peircei showed similarity in their growth responses to the whole range of salt concentrations. Dunaliella parva UTEX 1983, on the other hand, showed a growth rate pattern very different from those of their conspecifics and similar to those of D. viridis CONC 002 and D. salina UTEX 200. In relation to the pigment content, none of the strains turned orange or red in color under the whole range of salt concentrations assayed, and the total carotenoids to chlorophyll ratios were always lower or equal to 1.0. These results reaffirm the validity of the physiological attributes used to discriminate sections within the subgenus Dunaliella and show correlation with the previous molecular data, but stress the need for relocating some strains into different sections.

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