Effect of nitrate and sulfate starvation on polysaccharide formation in Rhodella reticulata

Shoshana (Malis) Arad, Yael (Brown) Lerental, Ofer Dubinsky

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59 Scopus citations


The red unicellular alga Rhodella reticulata was cultivated under various modes of nitrate and sulfate nutrition. For nitrate nutrition growth patterns were similar when nitrate was supplied only at the beginning of the culture (control) or when the nitrate concentration was kept constant by daily addition of nitrate. For sulfate nutrition growth patterns were similar in full concentration (control) and 1 10 strength sulfate media. Growth was, however, totally inhibited in a nitrate-deficient medium and partially inhibited in a sulfate-deficient medium. The total cell-wall polysaccharide content and its distribution between bound and dissolved fractions was affected by the regimes of nitrate and sulfate nutrition: the highest polysaccharide contents per cell were obtained in the nitrogen-deficient and sulfate-deficient cultures, which also exhibited the highest ratio of dissolved to bound polysaccharides. Both nitrate and sulfate starvation enhanced 14C and 35S incorporation into the polysaccharide. Photosynthesis decreased sharply during the stationary-phase of the control cultures, was very low throughout the growth in the nitrate-deficient cells, and decreased sharply in sulfate-deficient treatment. The results support the hypothesis that exocellular polysaccharide production is controlled at the level of carbon partitioning rather than by total photosynthetic loading.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-148
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1992


  • C + S incorporation
  • Carbon partitioning
  • Rhodella
  • cell wall
  • nitrate deficiency
  • red algae (Rhodophyta)
  • sulfate deficiency
  • sulfated polysaccharides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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