Ocean acidification caused by rising CO2 is predicted to increase the concentrations of dissolved species of Fe(II) and Fe(III), leading to the enhanced photosynthetic carbon sequestration in some algal species. In this study, the carbon and nitrogen metabolism in responses to increased iron availability under two CO2 levels (390 μL∙L-1 and 1000 μL∙L-1), were investigated in the maricultivated macroalga Pyropia haitanensis (Rhodophyta). The results showed that, elevated CO2 increased soluble carbonhydrate (SC) contents, resulting from enhanced photosynthesis and photosynthetic pigment synthesis in this algae, but declined its soluble protein (SP) contents, resulting in increased ratio of SC/SP. This enhanced photosynthesis performance and carbon accumulation was more significant under iron enrichment condition in seawater, with higher iron uptake rate at high CO2 level. As a key essential biogenic element for algae, Fe-replete functionally contributed to P. haitanensis photosynthesis. Increased SC fundamentally provided carbon skeletons for nitrogen assimilation. The significant increase of carbon and nitrogen assimilation finally contributed to enhanced growth in this alga. This was also intuitively reflected by respiration that provided energy for cellular metabolism and algal growth. We propose that, in the predicted scenario of rising atmospheric CO2, P. haitanensis is capable to adjust its physiology by increasing its carbon and nitrogen metabolism to acclimate the acidified seawater, at the background of global climate change and simultaneously increased iron concentration due to decreased pH levels.
Chen B., Zou D. & Yang Y., in press. Increased iron availability resulting from increased CO2 enhances carbon and nitrogen metabolism in the economical marine red macroalga Pyropia haitanensis (Rhodophyta). Chemosphere. Article (subscription required).