Metabolically active phosphorus-starved cultures of blue-green algae assimilate 32P rapidly in the light and in the dark. The uptake of phosphorus results in a rapid (within 15 min) stimulation in acetylene reduction by Anabaena cylindrica, A. flosaquae, Anabacnopsis circuiaris and Chlorogloea fritschii, with a response being obtained to less than 5 μg/1 of phosphorus. Uptake of phosphorus also causes a rapid increase in respiration in the dark but not in photo respiration, and the size of the cellular ATP pool and the 14CO2 fixation rate both increase more slowly. The metabolism of phosphorus-sufficient cells, which assimilate phosphorus more slowly, shows little response when phosphorus is provided.

Excess phosphorus is stored in the vegetative cells of blue-green algae as polyphosphate bodies which may form within 60 min of adding phosphorus to phosphorusstarved cells and which serve as a source of phosphorus for the algae when exogenous phosphorus is limiting. Preliminary results from Scottish waters suggest that urban effluents are important sources of available-phosphorus for algal growth and that the levels entering fresh waters from agricultural land are, per unit volume, lower. In both types of water the levels of available-phosphorus are rather similar to the levels of orthophosphate-phosphorus present. Most detergents tested serve as a source of phosphorus for nitrogen-fixing blue-green algae and cause a rapid stimulation in reduction when added to phosphorus-starved cultures. Of the detergents assayed, the biological types were richest in available phosphorus. The addition of detergents may result in a rapid increase in number of polyphosphate bodies present in the algae. Detergents in general also contain an inhibitor of algal metabolism. Whether a stimu-lation or an inhibition occurs depends on the quantities of detergent added and on whether or not the alga is phosphorus-deficient.