Red alga Palmaria palmata—growth rate and photosynthetic performance under elevated CO2 treatment

Marine macroalgae offer a feasible solution for reducing CO2 emissions by fixing CO2 as algal biomass and thus providing a source of renewable energy. The perennial red alga Palmaria palmata was cultivated and supplied with increased CO2 concentrations starting with 22 μmol kg−1 (pH 8.53) to 9770 μmol kg−1 (pH 6.04). Experiments covered test periods of 28 days, 7 days, and 2 h to examine the possible influence of different treatment durations. Biomass productivity over 28 days showed an increased production rate, which continuously declined with increasing CO2 concentration. After 7 days, the productivity was below the controls, suggesting a lag phase or necessary adaptation period to elevated CO2 concentrations of more than 7 days. Concerning the effects on maximum electron transport rate (ETRmax), light-harvesting efficiency (alpha), and light saturation of the photosynthetic electron transport (Ek), a stimulating influence was identified with the effect becoming more significant the shorter the test period was. The treatment with elevated CO2 concentrations for 28 days led to a decrease in photochemical efficiency (Y(II)) and regulated nonphotochemical energy dissipation (Y(NPQ)). In contrast, the treatment duration of 7 days predominantly increased photochemical quenching whereas the 2-h treatment resulted in a significant increase in photochemical quenching and in a significant decrease in nonregulated nonphotochemical energy dissipation. Hence, elevated CO2 concentrations over a prolonged time period interfered more distinctively with the fluorescence quenching ability of P. palmata.

Sebök S., Herppich W.B. & Hanelt D., in press. Red alga Palmaria palmata—growth rate and photosynthetic performance under elevated CO2 treatment. Journal of Applied Phycology. Article (subscription required).

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