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  • Received 25 March 2010. Accepted 22 August 2011.


The effects of different temperatures and light intensities on growth, pigments, sugars, lipids, and proteins, as well as on some antioxidant and proteolytic enzymes of Trachydiscus minutus (Bourr.) H. Ettl, were investigated. The optimum growth temperature and light intensity were 25°C and 2 × 132 μmol photons · m−2 · s−1, respectively. Under these conditions, proteins were the main biomass components (33.45% dry weight [dwt]), with high levels of carbohydrates (29% dwt) and lipids (21.77% dwt). T. minutus tolerated temperatures between 20°C and 32°C, with only moderate changes in cell growth and biochemical composition. Extremely low (15°C) and high (40°C) temperatures decreased chl and RUBISCO contents and inhibited cell growth. The biochemical response of the alga to both unfavorable conditions was an increase in lipid content (up to 35.19% dwt) and a decrease in carbohydrates (down to 13.64% dwt) with much less of a change in total protein content (in the range of 30.51%–38.13% dwt). At the same time, the defense system of T. minutus was regulated differently in response to heat or cold treatments. Generally, at 40°C, the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and proteases were drastically elevated, and three polypeptides were overexpressed, whereas the glutathione reductase (GR) and peroxidase (POD) activities were reduced. In contrast, at 15°C, all these enzymes except GR were suppressed. The effect of light was to enhance or decrease the temperature stress responses, depending on intensity. Our studies demonstrate the broad temperature adaptability of T. minutus as well as the potential for the production of valuable algal biomass.