Assessing the impact of sulfur concentrations on growth and biochemical composition of three marine microalgae

  • Tomásia Fernandes
  • Igor Fernandes
  • Carlos A. P. Andrade
  • Nereida CordeiroEmail author


The elemental stoichiometry, growth and biochemical composition of Nannochloropsis gaditana, Rhodomonas marina and Isochrysis sp. were studied in batch cultures against different nitrogen and sulfur molar ratios (N:S) imposed in their surroundings. In N. gaditana, treatments with low N:S lead to an increase in carbon:sulfur (C:S) and N:S molar ratios up to 95 and 81%, respectively. This was reflected in lipid and protein contents which increased up to 67 and 55%, respectively. Moreover, polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as its precursors, increased in low N/S treatments. In R. marina, the treatments applied promptly the decrease of both C:S and N:S ratios to 70 and 68%, respectively. Nevertheless, eicosapentaenoic:arachidonic acid ratio increased with N:S treatments by three and a half fold. In Isochrysis sp., the elemental stoichiometry was constrained against treatments until the highest sulfur input. Overall, sulfur supply highlighted microalgae taxonomic differences and suggested that biochemical control is required, even in nutrient replete conditions, to fully exploit their potential as added value biomachineries.


Sulfur Nannochloropsis gaditana Rhodomonas marina Isochrysis sp. 


Funding information

This study was partially supported by the Oceanic Observatory of Madeira (M1420-01-0145-FEDER-000001-Observatório Oceânico da Madeira-OOM).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LB3, Faculty of Sciences and EngineeringUniversity of Madeira, Campus Universitário da PenteadaFunchalPortugal
  2. 2.Oceanic Observatory of MadeiraAgência Regional para o Desenvolvimento da Investigação Tecnologia e InovaçãoFunchalPortugal
  3. 3.Mariculture Center of CalhetaCalhetaPortugal
  4. 4.CIIMAR, Interdiciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental ResearchPortoPortugal

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