Carbon-nitrogen relations during batch growth of Nannochloropsis oculata (Eustigmatophyceae) under alternating light and dark

K. J. Flynn, K. Davidson, J. W. Leftley

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Nannochloropsis oculata (strain CCAP 849/1) was sampled at least every 12 h over a 26-d period of batch culture growth in a 12 h/12 h light/dark illumination cycle. Exponential cell-specific growth rate was 0.5 d-1. Cell division occurred during the dark phase, while ammonium uptake, pigment synthesis and cell volume increase occurred mainly during the light. Stationary phase cells were on average larger that the largest exponentially growing cells. The lag phase prior to cell division was short with the C/N ratio returning to 6.25 (from 28) within 2 d of refeeding with ammonium. Significant Chl. a synthesis commenced after this period; net synthesis of Chl. a ceased on exhaustion of the N-source with a 40% fall in levels by the end of the stationary phase. Levels of carotenoids per cell also declined during N-deprivation although per ml of culture levels remained constant. Ammonium-refeeding of N-deprived cells resulted in a very rapid rise in glutamine (Gln) and very high ratios of glutamine/glutamate (Gln/Glu peaking at 35 within 1 h); peak Gln/Glu was lower in cells refed in the dark or after a shorter period of N-deprivation. The major intracellular amino acids during exponential phase were Glu, Gln, alanine and arginine, but on exhaustion of the N-source, levels of Gln fell rapidly (Gln/Glu falling to below 0.1 from 0.5-0.9 in the light and 0.3 in darkness during exponential growth). During N-deprivation tyrosine accumulated within the cells. Comparisons are drawn with the growth of Isochrysis galbana, another alga used in aquaculture, under identical conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-475
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1993


  • algal growth dynamics
  • CN biomass
  • Eustigmatophyte
  • intracellular free amino acids
  • Nannochloropsis
  • pigments


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