Psychology Faculty Publications

Plasticity of Total and Intracellular Phosphorus Quotas in Microcystis Aeruginosa Cultures and Lake Erie Algal Assemblages

Matthew A. Saxton
Robert J. Arnold
Richard A. Bourbonniere
Robert Michael McKay, Bowling Green State University - Main Campus
Steven W. Wilhelm


Blooms of the potentially toxic cyanobacterium Microcystis are common events globally, and as a result significant resources continue to be dedicated to monitoring and controlling these events. Recent studies have shown that a significant proportion of total cell-associated phosphorus (P) in marine phytoplankton can be surface adsorbed; as a result studies completed to date do not accurately report the P demands of these organisms. In this study we measure the total cell-associated and intracellular P as well as growth rates of two toxic strains of Microcystis aeruginosa Kütz grown under a range of P concentrations. The results show that the intracellular P pool in Microcystis represents a percentage of total cell-associated P (50-90%) similar to what has been reported for actively growing algae in marine systems. Intracellular P concentrations (39-147 fg celT-1) generally increased with increasing P concentrations in the growth medium, but growth rate and the ratio of total cell-associated to intracellular P remained generally stable. Intracellular P quotas and growth rates in cells grown under the different P treatments illustrate the ability of this organism to successfully respond to changes in ambient P loads, and thus have implications for ecosystem scale productivity models employing P concentrations to predict algal bloom events. © 2012 Saxton, Arnold, Bour-bonniere, McKay and Wilhelm.