Physiological differences in photosynthetic inorganic carbon utilization between gametophytes and sporophytes of the economically important red algae Pyropia haitanensis

Highlights

• The thalli of Py. haitanensis showed higher photosynthetic rates and Fv/Fm than the conchocelis.

• The DIC affinity of the thalli were significant higher than the conchocelis.

• The photosynthetic rates of both thalli and conchocelis were highly increased by an increase of CO2 from 80 to 87,730 ppmv.

Abstract

Despite the lifecycle of the red seaweed Pyropia/Porphyra being extensively studied, photosynthesis and the CO2 concentrating mechanisms (CCMs) have comparatively not been well studied between the gametophyte phase (leafy thallus) and the sporophyte phase (filamentous conchocelis). This study found that the net photosynthetic rates of the thalli were about twice that of the conchocelis of Py. haitanensis, and the maximal quantum yield of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) and thallus respiration were significantly higher and lower than the conchocelis, respectively. Additionally, two phases did not show significant differences in phycocyanin (PC) content, but significantly higher contents of phycoerythrin (PE), allophycocyanin (APC), and chlorophyll α (Chl α) were observed in the thalli compared with the conchocelis. The external carbonic anhydrase (eCA) activity of the thalli was also higher than that of the conchocelis, but no differences in internal CA (iCA) activity were detected between the two phases. As for carbon acquisition for photosynthesis, the major carbon source of the thalli was seawater HCO3−, which was absorbed via eCA-catalyzed conversion to CO2. Conversely, the conchocelis used HCO3− transporters to directly absorb seawater HCO3−, which contributed equally to photosynthesis compared with the eCA- or iCA-mediated pathway. The discovery of different CCMs between the thallus and conchocelis phases could further our understanding of lifecycle regulation in Pyropia. In addition, a decrease in pH from 9 to 6 significantly increased the photosynthetic rates of both the thalli and conchocelis by about 100% and 600%, respectively. Thus, both phases have potential for carbon capture from flue gases and carbon sequestration.

Wang Y., Xu K., Wang W., Xu Y., Ji D., Chen C. & Xie C., 2019. Physiological differences in photosynthetic inorganic carbon utilization between gametophytes and sporophytes of the economically important red algae Pyropia haitanensis. Algal Research 39: 101436. doi: 10.1016/j.algal.2019.101436. Article.

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