, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 827-832
Date: 02 Sep 2010

Effects of hydrogen peroxide on the content of major volatile halogenated compounds in the red alga Asparagopsis taxiformis (Bonnemaisoniaceae)

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Abstract

The genus Asparagopsis is a prolific source of halogenated metabolites. Due to its commercial applications, it has been intensively cultivated in southern Portugal. In the present study, we assess if the internal levels of the major halogenated metabolites (bromoform and dibromoacetic acid) in Asparagopsis taxiformis can be increased with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) addition. Previous studies with red algae showed that the production/release of bromoform can be enhanced by exogenously supplying H2O2. However, no study has assessed if H2O2 supply enhances the content of secondary metabolites within the biomass. This detail is important as the objective of the proposed research is to enhance the content of these valuable metabolites in the produced biomass. Both the activity of the haloperoxidase enzyme and the metabolite content were assessed on short-term and long-term incubation periods to H2O2. To determine the susceptibility of A. taxiformis photosynthetic performance to the imposed oxidative stress, the in vivo fluorescence of photosystem II was monitored. A. taxiformis was shown to be physiologically vulnerable to H2O2, given the observed decrease of the maximum quantum yield of photosynthesis (F v/F m). Contrary to what was expected, the presence of H2O2 inhibited the activity of the iodoperoxidase enzyme. Nevertheless, the extracted halogenated metabolites were higher over the first hours of exposure to H2O2, decreasing after 48 h. These results are probably related to the prosthetic group of the halogenated enzyme in A. taxiformis and the long-term oxidative stress damage of H2O2 exposure. Considering the objective of the proposed research, addition of H2O2 to the cultures, prior (3 h) to biomass harvesting, increases the metabolite content.