Metabolite profiling of Breviolum minutum in response to acidification

Highlights
• Acidification appeared to have little effect on photosynthetic parameters.

• Acidification significantly inhibited the growth of B. minutum.

• Accumulation of saturated fatty acids and some oligosaccharides may be important strategies in adaptation to environmental stress.

• Acidification may affect the biosynthesis of amino acids and proteins, and thereby inhibit the growth of B. minutum.

Abstract
Coral reefs are in significant decline globally due to climate change and environmental pollution. The ocean is becoming more acidic due to rising atmospheric pCO2, and ocean acidification is considered a major threat to coral reefs. However, little is known about the exact mechanism by which acidification impacts coral symbiosis. As an important component of the symbiotic association, to explore the responses of symbionts could greatly enhance our understanding of this issue. The present work aimed to identify metabolomic changes of Breviolum minutum in acidification (low pH) condition, and investigate the underlying mechanisms responsible. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) was applied to determine metabolite profiles after exposure to ambient and acidic conditions. We analysed the resulting metabolite data, and acidification appeared to have little effect on photosynthetic parameters, but it inhibited growth. Marked alterations in metabolite pools were observed in response to acidification that may be important in acclimation to climate change. Acidification may affect the biosynthesis of amino acids and proteins, and thereby inhibit the growth of B. minutum. Metabolites identified using this approach provide targets for future analyses aimed at understanding the responses of Symbiodiniaceae to environmental disturbance.

Jiang J. & Lu Y., in press. Metabolite profiling of Breviolum minutum in response to acidification. Aquatic Toxicology. Article (subscription required).

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