Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 405, Issue 10, pp 3359–3365 | Cite as

29Si{1H} CP-MAS NMR comparison and ATR-FTIR spectroscopic analysis of the diatoms Chaetoceros muelleri and Thalassiosira pseudonana grown at different salinities

  • Sian M. La Vars
  • Martin R. Johnston
  • John Hayles
  • Jason R. Gascooke
  • Melissa H. Brown
  • Sophie C. Leterme
  • Amanda V. EllisEmail author
Original Paper


Diatoms are key indicators of marine environmental health. To further understand how diatoms respond to varying degrees of salinity, either due to climate change or brine waste discharge into marine environments, two different diatom species were studied. Thalassiosira pseudonana and Chaetoceros muelleri were cultured at three different salinities namely, 26 practical salinity units (PSU or parts per thousand), 36 PSU (standard salinity for culturing of seawater species) and 46 PSU. Changes in silica and organic content within the cultured diatoms were analysed using solid-state 29Si{1H} cross-polarization–magic angle spinning (CP-MAS) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and attenuated total reflection–Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopies coupled with analysis of variance. 29Si CP-MAS NMR showed that qualitatively the Q4:Q3 area ratios of C. muelleri, grown away from standard salinities, increased in response to the formation of more condensed (2 ≡SiOH → ≡Si–O–Si≡ + H2O) and/or an increase in closely associated organic matter to the Q4 component of the diatoms. This was not observed for T. pseudonana. However, both species showed the appearance of a new peak centered at 1575–1580 cm−1 in the ATR-FTIR spectra, designated as the C═N band of nitrogenous purine-type compounds. Further, the C. muelleri species was shown to produce more extracellular polymeric substances at non-standard salinities. On this basis, results suggest that there is a strong relationship between diatom composition and salinity and that C. muelleri is more sensitive to its environment than T. pseudonana.


Diatoms Salinity 29Si solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy 



The authors wish to acknowledge the financial support of an ARC Discovery Grant (DP110101679) and the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia which is funded by the Australian Government through the Water for the Future initiative. We thank the Australian Research Council for a LIEF grant (LE0668489) for the purchase of the NMR spectrometer. We also thank Matthieu Bourgery for his assistance with the algal culture.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sian M. La Vars
    • 1
  • Martin R. Johnston
    • 1
  • John Hayles
    • 2
  • Jason R. Gascooke
    • 1
  • Melissa H. Brown
    • 2
  • Sophie C. Leterme
    • 2
    • 3
  • Amanda V. Ellis
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Flinders Centre for Nanoscale Science and Technology, School of Chemical and Physical SciencesFlinders UniversityBedford ParkAustralia
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesFlinders UniversityBedford ParkAustralia
  3. 3.SARDI Aquatic SciencesWest BeachAustralia

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