Carbon-nitrogen relations at whole-cell and free-amino-acid levels during batch growth of Isochrysis-Galbana (Prymnesiophycae) under conditions of alternating light and dark

Kevin Flynn, Keith Davidson, J W Leftley

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Isochrysis galbana Parke, Strain CCAP 927/1, was grown in ammonium-limited batch culture under a 12h light:12h dark illumination cycle. Samples were taken every 12h over the 26 d period from lag phase through exponential into stationary phase (no net carbon fixation), with more frequent sampling at points of interest. Exponential cell-specific growth rate was 0.3 to 0.4 d(-1). Cell division occurred during the dark phase, while cell volume increase, ammonium uptake, and pigment synthesis occurred during the light. Stationary phase cells were small, and the lag phase was long (5 d) even though the C:N ratio had returned from 18 to 6.5 within 2 d, followed by synthesis of chlorophyll a. Net chlorophyll synthesis ceased within 4 d of exhaustion of the nitrogen source. The chlorophyll c:chlorophyll a ratio remained constant during increasing nitrogen deprivation. Biovolume and carotenoids correlated with carbon biomass. Levels of chlorophyll a correlated poorly with carbon fixation and carbon biomass once the nitrogen source had been exhausted. Except after the addition of ammonium to nitrogen-deprived cells (refeeding), the content of intracellular glutamine and the glutamine:glutamate ratio were low during the dark phase, rising to a plateau within the first 1 h of illumination. Refeeding of cells which had only just exhausted the extracellular nitrogen source resulted in a much smaller increase in glutamine than refeeding of nitrogen-starved (stationary-phase) cells. Nitrogen biomass correlated with the presence of an unidentified intracellular amine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-237
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994



  • Marine & Freshwater Biology

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